Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 km Waterfront Race

This was my third race in four days so I was not expecting a great performance. Weather conditions were good and numbers in the event were low, probably because many of the regulars did the half marathon on Sunday. As I settled into the race I thought that it would be good to aim for a time under 32 minutes. I wasn't able to keep a consistent pace but did manage one fast 500 m when I was pushing well off my front toe. My 83 year old friend Michael was running just in front of me and catching him up looked possible but he pulled away from me in the last 1.5 km despite having run in the half marathon on the weekend.

I didn't make the 32 min mark, clocking in at 32:08. That's good enough for what is essentially a recovery walk.

Monday, February 27, 2012

20 min Easy Recovery

After the race yesterday I had a long soak in a bath with Radox in then my lovely husband gave me a great massage. I wore compression tights to bed and also to work under my trousers. All this must have contributed to a good recovery because I felt better walking today than I did in many of my sessions last week. My calves are feeling a bit tight but overall I'm in good shape. I didn't use my Garmin today but it was good to get out on such a lovely day.

Sunday 26 March - Round the Bays Half Marathon

I got up at 5:30 to get some porridge inside me well before the start of this race. I gathered my gear together and was heading out the door at around 6:45 when my daughter surfaced and asked why I was going so early. (The race started at 8:00 am). I explained I wanted plenty of time to park the car, drop of my bag to be transported to the finish and warm up for the race. Off I went only to turn around after 5 min when I realised I had left my camelback and gels behind. When I got back home Hannah was nearly ready to go so I waited for her. She had entered in the half marathon run but I didn't expect her to go since she had to default her tennis singles the previous day with a calf pull.

My workplace is across the road from the start line for the event and I was able to park in the basement there. I dropped off my bag did a short warm up then went down to the start line. This event had sold out and I didn't want to be stuck at the back unable to walk properly when the race started. I stood in the front row and by the time they announced that walkers should start behind the runners there wasn't enough time to move back even if I wanted to. It was a perfect day - fine with no wind to speak of!

I did get a little jostled at the start but it was insignificant. I settled into a steady rhythm, not feeling too much fatigue from the race the previous day. It occurred to me that starting in front of the other walkers meant I could not be sure that finishing first would give me first place - someone could finish behind me with a faster net time since we were wearing transponders.

After about 4 km I was passed by John. I remembered catching him at around the 14 km mark last year so thought that might be possible again. It was good to have another walker to pace off and I managed to stay close to him for a few km. Hannah and her boyfriend Tom passed me not long after that.

I decided to take some gel every 5 km but inadvertently turned off my Garmin when reaching into the pocket of my backpack. I didn't notice that the watch was off for 600 - 800 m. The turn around in this event is just before the 14 km mark. It is motivating to know there is only 7 km left to go once you get there. I saw Hannah and Tom not long before I passed the turn and noticed that John was not far in front of me. I started my ordinary stop watch at the turn around to gauge how far behind me the next walkers were. I estimated that to be at least 3 min and then saw that John was walking slowly in front of me and no longer race walking. I ask if he was okay when I passed him and offered him some gel but he said that 'the wheels had fallen off' but that he would be okay. Not long after that I caught up to Hannah who wanted some gel. I gave her what was remaining in my tube and slowed down so she could drink some water from my camelback. I then set off to pass as many of the slower runners as I could and to get to the end with an average pace of 6:45 min per km if possible. I finished strongly in 2:23:54, believing myself to be the first walker.

When I checked the website this morning only the results of the first 3 men and women runners were listed. There was no acknowledgement of the walking competitors. I was doubly disappointed when I checked the results in the paper and found that the results of the walkers were listed amongst the runners. I was not impressed with my 1247th placing (or whatever it was) and wrote an email of complaint to the organisers.

Tonight the results are up on the website and walkers have been separated but I am listed as finishing 9th with the winning time being 1:45:49. I will write another letter of complaint but I suspect it will be ignored just as last year. There is no effort in this event to keep walkers and runners separated and I can feel a letter to the editor of the newspaper coming on.

Saturday 25 February - Wellington Championship 3 km

I had tennis in the morning a half marathon the following day and a 20 km race the following so I had decided at the outset that I was going for a respectable time but not a personal best. I got to the track before 1 pm, thinking there was plenty of time to prepare for the race only to be told the start time was 1:30 and not 1:50 as I had assumed. Fortunately there was time for a reasonable warm up and I was pretty relaxed for the start. I was sorry to learn that Robyn could not get away from work so would not be at the race today. We were given formal places on the start line which was when I found out that I was the only female in the open event. Natasha had entered as a junior and the other women had entered as masters. I find the combining of open and masters events very confusing. I understand it is better not to ask officials to hold two events both of which have low entries but it does seem unreasonable to ask competitors to choose one or other event to enter. I don't see why the junior or masters athletes could not also achieve a placing in the open event as well as their own event. Natasha led from the start followed by Chris then Fraser. This is the first time I have seen Fraser go out hard from the outset and it was great to see. I tucked in behind Kevin at the start and was happy to see the first 200m come up in 1:06. I decided to pass Kevin along the back straight and concentrated on a relaxed style with plenty of push off the toes. In around the 3rd lap I noticed my sisters had arrived to watch. I received a warning for knees from Peter at around this time but there were no cards up for me. David seemed to be looking at me particularly closely but I just concentrated on maintaining my technique and did not concern myself with what was happening around me.

I was under 6 min/km at the 2 km mark and finished the race in 18:07. The best news was that I received no cards at all! David mentioned that although he judged that my knees were straightening, this was not as obvious as it was for other competitors and required effort from judges to carefully look at my knees. Judges not used to making such effort may assume I was not straightening. Let's hope that I can make my technique more convincing yet.


Friday 24 February - 10 km walk with 2 x 5 min @ 10 km pace

I was very keen to walk today after two days without walking. It was still windy but at least it was manageable. The wind was behind me at the start and I needed to get the sprints in before turning to walk into the wind which was strong enough to almost stop me on the return. At the 7 km mark I headed into town to pick up my race pack and amble back to work. The fast efforts were at 1.5 km and 3.5 km. I was happy with this walk - enough to give me confidence that my body would perform okay over the weekend and not enough to wear me out.

Thursday 23 February

Even though I was still feeling stiff and sore I had every intention of doing the 15 km on my programme for today. Two things got in my way - I was really busy at work and the wind was so strong that I may have been in danger of being blown into the harbour. The wind won out in the end - it did not seem worth the effort of trying to race walk when you could barely stand up straight!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Catching Up

Tuesday 21 February - 5 km Waterfront Race

I really should have done about 10 km this day to complete most of what is on my program for this week but I was feeling tight and sore. The officials were officiating at the race so I wasn't sure if it would be possible for me to walk. Fortunately plenty of helpers turned up so I took the start line as usual. There was a strong northerly wind blowing which added to the difficulty I was having in getting up any speed. It was great to see Wellington's two best women walkers turn up to this race and a pity that I wasn't able to keep them in my sights.

I finished with the slowest time since injuring my ankle in 2010, 32:30, and behind young Fraser who passed me in the finishing straight for the second time in a week. I did a slow 1 km warm down after the race probably quite pleased that Philip had come to pick me up so it wasn't possible to walk any more.

Monday 20 February - walk home from work

It was really busy at work. I started early with the plan to finish at 4 pm and do a longish walk. Unfortunately it was 5:45 when I got away and I needed to get home at a reasonable time to do the autumn squash draw for the district. The best solution was to walk home to get some exercise whilst getting me where I needed to be. The route is flat for the first 3 km or so then involved climbing a large number of steps and up a slope before being able to race walk again. I probably manage around 5 km of race walking. I was still stiff and sore after the weekend so this was not a bad choice.

Sunday 19 February - 15 km Training Walk

The pace of this walk was very gentle but I was working hard and could not have managed much faster. Philip and I chose a scenic route on the south coast and enjoyed watching the kite surfers as we went along. We found it was exactly 7.5 km from the airport end of Lyall Bay to the Owhiro Bay quarry - a great 15 km route that we will use again. Average pace 7:58. (Forgot to take my HR strap)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wellington Masters 1500 m

Today was my first interclub tennis fixture of the post-Christmas competition. I played doubles with my daughter Hannah which we won comfortably 6-2, 6-2 in around an hour. In my singles I came back from 5-2 down to get ahead 6-5. I lost the next game but won the tie break 7-3. In the second set I raced away to a 4-1 lead but made heaps of errors and ended up losing the set 6-4. At 4-5 in that set my right calf went into cramp but Poweraide came to the rescue and allowed me to continue. The third set continued to be close. I went ahead 4-2 and eventually won 6-4. The singles match lasted just over 2 hours.

That amount of tennis was less than ideal preparation for a championship race. A long warm-up was called for and we got to the track in plenty of time for me to walk 2.5 km before the race. The first 2 km were really slow - over 8 min/km. I wasn't sure if I would manage anything like a sprint and was counting on adrenalin helping me out. It was hot and sunny at the track with a moderate breeze that did not affect things too much. I moved into 4th place but could hear people egging on Fraser who told me recently he had set his sights on beating me. That gave me incentive to keep pushing hard despite my weary legs. Fraser's coach was encouraging him to put on a great sprint in the last 100 m and the finishing judge decided we were 4th equal. The final results showed Fraser at 8:36:87 and me 11 hundredths of a second behind at 8:36:98. It's great to see a young walker finally coming through with some speed. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this pace going over the 3 km next week. (I will be trying to finish my tennis a bit quicker if I can but sometimes thoughts like that cause me to take risks and make more errors than I normally would.)

I did not see any warnings from the four judges today and I did not receive any penalties. Yay! Peter did say that my knees were a bit soft but not enough to warrant a red card. I'm not sure if that was the whole race or not.

I did wear my Garmin but I did not use it well. I turned the autolap off and then forgot to press the lap button at the end of laps 1 and 3. I also forgot to hit the stop/start button immediately after finishing. I will put it on but the data will not be very helpful.

There was a 12 km training walk on my programme for today. I had planned to do about 4 km with the race and then do another 8 km later. Given my long tennis match today I decided not to walk any further in order to keep some energy for my 15 km tomorrow. I will try and do some stretches tonight and perhaps Philip will give me a massage.

Friday, February 17, 2012

3 x 2 km with 3 min recovery

I suspected that my sprints would be pretty slow today as I get used to an adjusted style. I set myself the modest goal of 6:30/km and walked about 1 km to warm up. It was hot and sunny today with a light breeze, not worth mentioning by Wellington standards. My first km was 6:22 and the next one 6:06 which was encouraging. My next 2 km was 12:00 - amazing! I will be disappointed not to better the 8:57 that I did on the last 1500 m of this lap in the race at the track tomorrow. I found it harder to maintain speed on the last lap but was pleased with my overall average of 6:11/km. My average HR was 157 bpm.

Splits: 12:28, 12:00, 12:43

Thursday, February 16, 2012

12 km Training Walk

I had written up my blog for today and was about to choose some photos from last week when I closed the browser window instead of the picture window. If I was using IE it would have asked me if I wanted to close all tabs and given me the chance to cancel but Google Chrome happily closed and deleted my entry. That will teach me to save as I go. I had a chat with my coach last night so I was keen to go out today and put into practice the changes to my style we talked about to make me look more acceptable to the judges. It's a pity there was no one around to tell me if they could see the improvement that I felt was there. My glutes feel like that had a good workout, even the gluteus medius which doesn't usually see all that much action. My pace today was better than on my 10 km walk on Monday despite the wind holding me back a bit. I was pretty happy with my time of 1:23:53 for an average pace of 6:59 and average HR of 154 bpm.

Robyn, Theresa and I won a team gold in the 10 km race

Daphne, Jeff, Jackie and me checking out the 10 km course

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 km Waterfront Race

My main aim for this race was to keep good technique and to work at rolling off my big toes. I was feeling pretty stiff at the start and did a pretty slow time for the first km. I picked out some of the runners that I thought I could pass and mostly achieved that and finished in 31:06 which is not bad considering I couldn't get under a 7 min/km average yesterday. My legs felt a lot better after the race than before. I guess a good stretch out does them good but they will probably stiffen up by tomorrow. I forgot to put my heart monitor strap in my bag today so there is no HR data.

This is the video from the 3 km race at the Oceania Champs. After being DQ'd in the 5 km I thought my chances of finishing the 3 km were pretty slight and naturally I was pretty nervous. I didn't walk well as a consequence, never really finding my rhythm and was pulled off the course with two laps to go.

Monday, February 13, 2012

10 km Training Walk

I was keen to get out walking today and it was great weather for walking despite the moderate southerly breeze that slowed me down a bit. My aim for today was to be relaxed and to concentrate on rolling off my toes. I found that it required a fair bit of concentration to do the latter. If I didn't think about it then there wasn't as much push off as there could be. It goes to show I need to put more effort in with this. I was a bit surprised with how slow I was at the start but I did manage to improve my pace a bit when I wasn't going directly into the wind. I stopped at the 1.5 km mark to turn the auto-lap function on which I had turned off for the track races. I was able to get my pace to 7:04 min / km which is pretty pathetic but all I could manage with a reasonable effort. My average HR was 142 bpm.

Oceania Championships

This was a disappointing championship for me with DQ's in the 5000 m and 3000 m track walks and three penalties in the 10 km road walk with only two being counted since they all came from NZ judges. I will put up some video footage of me taken during the races and let you decide if you can see the bent knees I was penalised for. These clips are from the 5000 m. I will add some from the 300o m another time.

Monday 6th February - 10 km Road Walk

I finished 3rd in this event and 2nd in my age group. They delayed the medal ceremony for two and a half hours after the end of the race so I decided not to attend since I had made arrangements to spend the rest of the day with family in Auckland. Unbeknown to me, there was a team award in this event and I was part of a team of three NZ walkers who received a gold medal for the best aggregate time in our age range (we were 2nd, 3rd and 4th).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

8 km Training Walk

My legs were feeling a lot less sore and much looser today. Even so, my first km took over 7 min but after that I settled into a smooth rhythm and achieved an average of 6:34 / km. That was a real confidence booster given that I had not pushed myself at all.

8 km Training Walk

Tuesday 31 January - 5 km Waterfront Race

I had hoped I would manage an average of 6:15 or better but it was a windy night and my legs were sore so it was not to be. I was reasonably happy with this result of 31:51.