Monday, 25 February 2013

Consistency is the key

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute blast and really satisfying. I have had a really consistent couple of weeks and the last week involved 2 P.B's on a couple of my "bread & butter" training loops. These P.B's have been coming really easily and I have felt like I have been in cruise mode whilst on these runs. They have also both been in weather about 10-15 degrees warmer than when I ran my times last year before the Glasshouse 100km. I couldn't be happier with how things are at the moment.

The first one came last Tuesday when I was out doing the normal 31km from Kalamunda out to Mundaring Weir return. At the Camel Farm I was only 12secs ahead of my previous P.B but by the time I got back to the car I had a time that was nearly 5min quicker and the fastest I'd run that. It was a really nice morning out on the trails. See my move HERE on

In and around the couple of best times I have had the last few weeks I have had easily the most consistent patch of training since well before the Glasshouse 100km. When I was getting back into the swing of things a couple of months ago I kept reminding myself to ease into things and not over-do it, this was because of how October/November went in 2012 as I did not want a repeat of this. Part of me feels slightly underdone and a little bit gutted that the Tarawera 100km isn't slightly later on in the year so I could have a couple of races in the build up to it. But then on the other hand I feel that after how the Busselton Half Marathon went and how some of my long training runs have gone I feel like I could really put in a good performance at Tarawera. At the end of the day, regardless of how amazing and quality the field is, it is just another race I keep telling myself. The competition at Tarawera is going to be incredible but I am more excited about just pulling on the Hoka's and doing my thing for 100km. The feeling and happiness I get from doing long hilly runs is kind of hard to explain. For people out running and seeing this tattooed skinny kiwi bloke out charging along trails with a slightly over sized smile, it must look pretty funny.

Then there was the second P.B when I was out at the John Forrest National Park, Eagle View loop. Once again I took this run at what felt like a really 'nice' pace and even power hiked one of my favourite hills in thinking that I am needing to just look after myself for the next few weeks. I ended up having about a 1min30sec better time than my previous best. Really really stoked with that considering the effort it took to do this.

There were plenty of other runs the last few weeks and I'll let some of the photo's explain those.

Some other exciting things that happened this last week was getting my new Hoka's from Hoka Australia. My new Evo's are as comfy as ever and I'm really looking forward to trying the new Bondi 2's and seeing how they go.

Not long now until we fly out to NZ for the big race. I cannot wait to leave and it's pretty safe to say I am pretty pumped about the whole experience!!

Dan, Thomas and me after a great 30km around Serpentine N.P

My new Hoka One One Evo's, super grippy on the rocky stuff :)

Serpentine Falls, an awesome place to finish a run.

Dan, Adam and Mark on the Kalamunda Circuit

Me with my new UD vest, also pretty happy I found some new trails up at Lesmurdie :)

Adam and his not so lucky ankle...

Hoka's are slowly taking over WA

Dan getting his TNF100 power hike on!

Irish Thomas having some "fun" on a nice climb

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Puzzles aren't just for kids and grandparents...

When I was younger and my Great Grandad was around I remember helping him put together puzzles that he was working on. There always seemed to be so many pieces but I always remembered seeing the puzzle finished and thinking how incredible it was. That's kind of what each week is feeling like at the moment. Every run I finish, every massage, every stretch seems to be all part of a big running puzzle. There is no sure finish date of this puzzle but there will be some moments of joy along the way including a few races I have in the upcoming months. I am relishing every moment I pull on my shoes and hit the trails, and I look forward to the next time running the moment one run finishes.

I knew at the beginning of this week that I was going to be doing the Busselton Half Marathon on Saturday, so as much as I could I eased into the week training as well as maintaining a good flow with how training has been going.

Monday: Finally I managed to get a run in up at Lesmurdie Falls. It had been so long since heading up there. I was a little short on time but had time for just over 12km of great trails and a super fast tiger snake. Glad he wasn't chasing me! An awesome run with some choice hills.

Tuesday: Today was to be my "speed training" for Busselton. Late Monday night though I decided to run early morning with Dan while he did his intervals at around 4:20/km pace which I figured was a nice pace for me to tag along at. The morning run was more about catching up with a mate and having fun. I managed a quick swim between runs, more of a survival doggie paddle... I think I'll stick with the running. Then for the lunchtime run.... I kinda forgot the fact that in a few days time I was going to be asking my ultra running legs to go a bit quicker than usual. So I put a bit of pep in my step and headed out for a few km of what some might call intervals. The issue that became apparent was that it was approx 32deg and rather hot! I met up with Mark and we took off. I ran my 1st 2km at 3:18 and 3:27/km, followed by about 4km of cruising back to Mark and then carrying on. Before deciding I should probably do another 2km set which ended in 3:25 & 3:39/km.... Did I mention it was hot?

Wednesday: Massage & Stretching day.

Thursday: I ran with Liz straight after work this morning for a touch under 8km. When I'm in full flight with my training I love our runs together, it slows things down and reminds me of some of the reasons of why I run. Mind you it might not be slow for long the way Mrs Hawker is running now! Then Liz jumped on the bike and I laced up again to head out for 10km around the river. It had heated up a bit but I wasn't pushing things hard at all so just enjoyed a sunny afternoon running.

Friday: After finishing work we packed the car and made way for Busselton. After a massive detour due to fires near the freeway we made it to Busselton. After setting up the tent and getting organised we left to go and pick up our race packs. Liz was doing the 10km run as well as me doing the half. After getting our race numbers we decided to do a cruisy 5km along the course to see whereabouts we were going for the race. It was absolutely stunning along the coast and a really enjoyable run. After the run we had a quick dip in the ocean to cool off before heading out for dinner.

Saturday: So there I was, standing on the start line of a HALF MARATHON! I was kind of pumped and kind of not. I really wasn't too sure how things were going to go. Optimistically I was hoping to beat my Esperance p.b of 76:42 but really didn't think that was going to happen as I'd only run under 4min'km 4 times in the past few months so didn't know how my legs were going to like it. The gun went and we were off. Dave Kennedy a fellow ultra running mate was also doing the race and planning on a similar time so we started off together and let the crazy fast buggers go off and do their thing. A km or so later I slowly started passing a few of the keen ones who took off at the start which was cool. Before I knew it I was ticking off the km's so easy and the Tarmacs were feeling soooo good! It's so nice in races now that even when the legs are sore or the lungs are bursting my feet are so happy. The race went really well and I continued to pass a couple of runners and I eventually caught the next closest with approx 5km to go. We played a bit of cat and mouse probably due to me not knowing how to 'race' a half as far as taking turns in front? He eventually made a move with about 2km to go and I thought he was gone. However I did a bit of a crazy man lactic acid build up sprint from about 300m out and nearly caught him. Crossed in 76:02 for 6th place. Super happy with the result and really happy with how the body pulled up afterwards. Note to self for next time would be to set up my watch so I can see total time as I should have gone under 76mins had I known how close I was. Always next time :)

Sunday: This morning was another early start to head out to the Bibbulmun Track from the Kalamunda Camel farm. James met me and we were off running. It was an awesome kind of hilly run with approx. 850m elevation in the 26km and some new trails. We ran some trails that I have looked at for ages now but not ventured off the Bibb, probably due to normally running on my own and in summer with some wildlife I'd rather not get too close to on my own. I found one of my old/brand new RaceReady shirts in my suitcase from shifting so was nice to run in a brand spankin new shirt :) Got dirty pretty quick though!!

Another sweet week running and nice to be in a race again. I think I'll leave it a while though before lining up in my next half marathon..... They hurt too much :)

Me and Liz on our evening run in Busselton, sweet self portrait whist running skills :)

I'll probably be pretty chuffed to see these in the end I reckon!

Registration tent

Our sweet campsite by the river

Some nice rutted out trails from Sunday's exploring session.

James stoked to be back on the trails

Me trying to find the handbrake on my Hoka's on Sunday's run

Busselton is a beautiful place to do anything, especially running and swimming :)

C'mon quads, lets do this!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A breakthrough week!

Monday: I found out today that running along with a handheld bottle and a DVD is not quite ideal. After a busy day of bits and pieces I thought I might as well run to the DVD store to drop the rental off we had from the night before. Just over 11km with a healthy average pace. It was a pretty hot evening and nice to have Liz come along for some company on the bike.

Tuesday: I had a long awaited massage in the morning from Nathan at MassageWorksHQ. I had been training the previous couple of weeks looking forward to going in and having the legs flushed out. In the afternoon I headed out with Mark and did an 11km loop around the river at just over 4min/km pace. It was a nice way to shake the legs out after a massage.

Wednesday: I met James at the Heritage Trail car park to do an out and back of about 15km. It was James first run in a while and we for some reason ended up running in the middle of the day which kept things nice and warm. It was good to catch up and get a fairly quick 15km in on some nice trails with even better scenery.

Thursday: Today's run started super early as I had an hour drive ahead of me before I could even think about getting on the trail. Not something I am ever keen on doing but sometimes it's worth chucking some gas in the car to seek some quality trails. The days leading up to this run I was real stoked and excited about where we were going to be running as I had only been there once before. The plan was to do two out and backs from where we parked so we could refill water after 30km or so. The first out and back included running up and over Mt Cooke which once again was absolutely awesome! The massive rock slabs you get to run down and then back up are really amazing. It was great having Dave along on this run to ensure the pace was kept high. At one point I said to Dave that if he wanted to push hard to the top that he might as well as I had my own plans for that run which included running strong through to the 50km finish and also to run within myself so I recovered well from this gnarly Western Australian run. After that brief conversation as we were slogging it back to the top of Mt Cooke we maintained a really nice pace to the summit and then over the other side. We got back to the car with a touch over 30km on the clock in bang on 3hrs which was a pretty good pace considering the hills and especially the terrain underfoot. After a quick refill we were off again in the opposite direction for a 10km out and back over Mt Cuthbert and Mt Vincent. From the 30km point I felt really strong. I was running within myself and we were still cranking along at good speed. The next out and back was really good trails and we once again were making good time. Today I was trying the new Clif Shot gels and chews for the first time and my initial reaction was that they were fantastic. One in particular that I had with about 9km to go was just the ticket and I felt brilliant despite running 40 odd km already. I'm hoping that it wasn't all the Gels doing and that my training is a big part of that too.

Friday: I pulled up pretty well after the big run yesterday which was awesome. All muscles etc were feeling really good. I'm not sure if I banged my knee or not but the only outcome from the run was what felt like a bit of a bruise on the side of my knee. I ran 9km this morning with Adam up at Bold Park. Knee felt a bit "weird" for the first couple of minutes but soon came good. The rest of the run went awesome.

Saturday: Rest Day/ Day One of the Disc Golf Tournament

Sunday: I had day two of the Disc Golf Tournament today. Luckily the course just so happened to be in Mundaring where there are so many quality trails around. The Hoka One One Kep Ultra just so happened to have their first recon run starting at 6am from Mundaring. The recon was to do an out and back totalling approx. 27km from Mundaring Weir out to Mt Helena and back. I only had a certain amount of time to run this morning so was kind of forced to keep a fairly quick pace. I took off on my own and after a km or so I was joined by a mate Tim for a few km who ran with me to his car where he stopped to grab his pack. After Tim left I had a really good run out to Mt Helena and got out there in 1hr2min. After topping up my water I was off again returning to Mundaring Weir. I had another great run back and managed to come home in 56mins and was pretty much in cruise mode the whole time. This run was one of the most pleasing runs I have done lately and let me know that things are definitely staring to come along nicely for Tarawera in March.

This was easily the best week training as far as how I felt at the end of it. I managed to get some really quality runs in this week and recovered really well which enabled me to train how I wanted to. There is nothing more frustrating than having a really good session one day and then pulling up sore the next day. The last few weeks have really felt like things are back on track, and after the last week I have had a real confidence/ego boost in the lead up to Tarawera which is what I needed after how things had been going. I always knew I was going to get on the plane to NZ and be racing but wasn't sure what kind of race fitness I was going to have. I'm getting more and more confident as each week passes. Still work to do so no easing up anytime soon. I'm really loving this gradual build up to Tarawera. It was also a fantastic week running with some mates who I hadn't run with in a while.

My new best friends, the Hoka One One Stinson Evo's
The crew from the Ultra Running Seminar last week.

Before the start of Sunday's Hoka One One Kep Ultra Recon run #1
Some awesome views from up Mt Cooke

Dave running fast uphill as usual

Back in one of my favourite spots to run, pretty sure I have almost the exact photo from a few months ago..

On the descent before heading up Mt Vincent from Mt Cuthbert

Top of Mt Vincent

Me with my RaceReady running shirt on, by far the best running gear I wear when on the trails!

Dave running some nice sub 5min km on a good section on the Bibb.

Dave coming down a cool rocky slab

Some fun single track

The new local residents at work, nothing to do with running but they are awesome :)