Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ooo yuck mud!

For some reason I decided to do my long run on trail, despite my foot being of the 'nearly healed' status. I looked at a lovely map of the Waitaks and picked out some nice trails which were either walkable or easy tramps. The first three were relatively pleasant and only the continued rain made it less than idyllic. But it all changed when I turned on to Hamilton Track! Really 'on to' does not describe it. "When I slogged through the muddy ruts and hauled myself past cutty grass" would be closer to the point.

Hamilton track is a feast of roots and ruts. I could have coped with that but the past few days of rain had left it a bog full of bottomless holes at the bottom of innocent looking puddles. All the footprints were moving in the opposite direction and they all seemed to be from size 14 tramping boots. If Hell is a wet murky bog filled with slippery roots and low hanging branches, I know where it is!  To call it a run would be a lie! I staggered along like a belligerent drunk, cursing at trees that seemed to bump into me and banks that leapt out in  front of me. Falling flat on my face while my Garmin cheerfully beeped the k marker did nothing to improve my mood. Clambering across a waterfall in full flow was not a refreshing break!

The joy I felt on emerging onto the Nihotapu dam road was quickly dampened by the realisation that I had to double back! I made it through by counting down the k's of mud sucking hell to go "2 and a quarter ks of mud sucking horror to go" "2ks of mud sucking torture to go". On the way out I'd put thought into my line, not so on the return. It was faster but only because I ploughed straight through the wallows of mud, often feeling the tug as the mud fought to steal my shoe or sinking up to my knee in the 'puddles'. Luckily I only turned my ankle two or three times on the way back.

It was a death march near the end, I was running but not as we know it, Jim. Wet skins are not pleasant and prone to get very cold. I almost laughed hysterically at the shoe cleaning points. Scrub off the mud, yeah right!

Note to self: when heading to the mud mines, remember your beanie and gloves, make sure there is at least a towel if not a blanket in the car and a thermos of something hot so you arrive home a lot less grumpy. And always check the headlights are turned off because there's no cellular reception to call the AA.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road is hard

My Salomon packvest went for a nice long trail run yesterday ....unfortunately it  didn't take me, in fact it didn't even tell me it was going!
So I was left to do a road run today that had way too many hills and way too few trees. You'd think roads with names like "Gillies Ave", Khyber Pass" and "Mt Eden Rd" would be nice but they're not! The dog went out too quick and I ended up towing her near the end.

We did maintain a nice pace despite the nasty hills and even did a grand spurt of speed to make the cross signal triggered by the 5 1/2 pack from the Y coming up the hill. Always nice to pass other runners when you're doing a decent clip rather than slogging!

I remembered to tape my foot so that went well apart from a slight rub on the side of my foot where the tape was a bit tight. So I've now managed to push the poor foot up to 9.5k with 5 and 6 k runs during the week so it seems I am on the mend. Now if I can do 5 times the distance I'm sweet!

Friday, July 30, 2010

On the road again...

The dark before the dawn saw Millie and I doing a reasonably pleasant 45 minute run.  I can't say how far we went because I accidentally keylocked my Garmin so I can't get off the virtual partner screen (I was 170m behind him this morning...I'll catch the little bugger yet!). There were hills of sort involved but alas no trail, unless Cornwall Park counts but we didn't go off-piste.

My foot was slightly tender on the return journey but I blame the amount of driving I do for that rather than the running. The motion that the foot makes when depressing the accelerator is it's least favourite movement. I guess I might have to get back into taping if I want to be able to go any longer than an hour....which I do.

It was a nice start to the day but I'm feeling a bit tired now. Fortunately everyone was open to do-it-yourself pizza. All I had to do was shove the various concoctions in the oven. The boys seem to have developed an addiction to Paprika! I had a pleasant chicken, olive, capsicum and onion pizza with  parmesan and tuscan seasoning, om nom nom.  I could manage some chocolate but will resist, after all I know my virtual partner won't be eating chocolate and I WILL catch him, mark my words!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Whoops I accidentally ran trail

I know my plan was to hold off the trail until my foot was 101% better.  I really had every intention of doing so.  There was no trail in my training plan for yonks. But today was so beautiful and my trail shoes were just so embarrassingly clean.

Millie and I ran the Montana Heritage Trail in the Waitaks and I remembered why I don't do trail with her. She is the ultimate line hog. If there's a best way to go down  the trail, she's on it.  She also has an absolute confidence that she knows the way. Normally that's not a problem because I can see the right way and just take it. Unfortunately there was a point where the trail split, one way was narrow and looked like a created trail and the other was wide and looked well used. Now you'd have thought the sign pointing possibly more towards the narrow trail then the wide trail would have been a pointer but it really pointed at both trails. I'm sure in good weather the wide trail is fun and obviously heaps of people have used it but after days of rain it was exposed red clay interspersed with quick sand areas of mud.  Millie was inclined to charge down it and I was inclined to turn the air blue with expletives.

We survived the pseudo trail (by that I mean I didn't strangle Millie and leave her for the possums) but we had a severe falling out on a set of stairs where she charged as my foot hit the slimy wood edge of a step causing initial impact of butt with the edge of the stair and then with the lovely deep muddy puddle below it. There was much anti-dogma and insults.  I could hear her thinking 'stupid human! If you insist on running on those two legs what do you expect?'.  I now have a step imprint on my butt. On the plus side my shoes are now way not pristine!

So it appears that Millie will have to remain a Roadie unless she learns to a) not hog and b) listen when I shout 'Wait' or make the tsh sound.  If she could be off-lead we'd be on a winner but alas that conflicts with the Waitaks laws.

There are heaps more shoe cleaning stations on the trail now.  It used to just be at the entry exit point but now they're at lots of trail junctions and entry to any areas where the Kauri are healthy. I big pits with the brushes and high-powered sprays are great but the little squirty bottles and scrubbing brushes are hard work. And what about Millie's paws? She didn't like being squirted.

Just as an after thought....why aren't there wine stops on the Montana Heritage trail.  And will it become the Brancott Heritage trail now Montana has changed it's name since it was confusing the poor little Americans. What next? We change the name of French fries?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Protein bars nom nom nom

I've always found protein bars to be reminiscent of eating a cardboard box. They would have to rank just behind Leppin gels as my least favourite thing to refuel with......until now! I was looking for a bar that had more than 10g protein, 25g carbs and 5g fat to have in my car for midmorning or afternoon mini meals if I couldn't escape. So I grabbed a Horley's Carb Less protein bar. The flavour was double Dutch Choc Fudge .....sounds yum but I've been fooled before.  After a rather stressful visit I was really wanting some Buffy says 'There is nothing in the world that chocolate can't fix'. Since there was none on hand I decided to try half the Horley's bar with it's 18.4g of muscle building protein, measly 4.5g of carbs and a tinsy 1.6g of saturated fat. IT WAS DIVINE! Yumminess in an innocent metallic blue wrapper. Do you realise what those numbers mean? Half a bar is like eating two treat size pinkies (you know you can't stop at one). The pinkies would have been 112 calories vs 91 (OK not too much diff), 1.5g saturated fat vs 0.8g, a piddly 0.9g protein vs 9.2g and 17.2g of carbs to a trifling 2.2g. Plus it tasted and felt much more satisfying. 

Of course the real stamp of approval came from Felix who ate a whole one and when busted pronounced it yummy!  So now I know what to have tucked away to give me a kick when I need it or a bribe to do weight training! 

Oh yeah...I ran 5k again and it wasn't raining. I wish someone would invent something to stow doggy doo in after you've bagged it when you're running. I've got a cool carry bag with a secret sealed compartment but it's no good for running.  I'm sure it would sell!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


One day into fundraising for the 7in7 challenge and I've already had $30 in donations! Makes this morning's run in pouring rain and wet shoes so much more worthwhile! I bought another pair of runners today so the wet shoe issue will be a thing of the past. Now if they can only make me go faster! I swear my virtual partner on my Garmin is laughing at me but it doesn't have to run up hills!

Today was a repeat of yesterday's run.....boring! I am not enamoured with the streets but time constraints meant there was no chance of heading West or south to find some nicer paths. The dog doesn't really care. A run is a run and if there are birds to chase even better. Why can dogs not understand that they cannot fly!


A game of S.N. cricket put my return to the trails back significantly. It was a case of twist and shout! So I've spent 5 months babying my foot. It's been taped so much I think I'll permanently have a white area on my calf, it was allowed only gentle walks and flat shoes.

By May I was able to powerwalk and that at least kept my sanity. Six weeks ago I decided to try a little short run in the evening...I'm talking maybe a k! But there was no pain and only slightly more twinges in the morning. Things were looking up!

Normally I charge ahead like a bull at a gate but for once I decided to take it slow....little steps. So I settled into doing a 1 mile course on the hilly streets around our house. Occasionally I'd push out to 2k but not further. I mixed in longer walks and was quite happy.

In fact I changed my focus and started weight training so my runs were just a cardio work out rather than the be all and end all. And I totally love the weights workouts! So instead of feeling like I was missing out on something I was doing something else I loved.

So I was rocking along like this, happy as Larry, until the first Saturday in July.....Kepler registration. I had resigned myself to the fact that a 60k run over trails was not doable if I wanted to really get sorted so I slept in.  And then the remorse set in. So I decided to look for something to take my mind off the Kepler on the day and I found it....The Goat.....running round Mt Ruapehu. So joy was restored ....if I could up the ks.

Then I read the runs list for the 7in7 Challenge that Mal Law is running to raise money for the Leukemia and Blood Foundation. The day one run was a marathon in the Wanaka area and you didn't have to eat nails for breakfast to do it! So I registered my interest but it all depended on whether I could actually up the running. I have most running books under the sun and I knew just the book to grab...Marathon Running For Mortals. It's written by John Bingham aka the Penguin and Jenny Hadfield. So diary in hand I plotted the training programme. It looked doable but the proof was in the running so off I went yesterday for the first run....5k pain! Don't worry I've got until the end of November to get the ks up! So I set up my fundraising page because I can do this! All runners are encouraged to raise at least $400.

My page is Nic's 7in7 fundraising page. So if you've read this far, how about dropping by and promising a few dollars! And no, I won't be doing it in costume!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I am complete!

Having run with my crackberry and suffering it swearing that I can run across water without even getting my feet wet and dropping satellites at the appearance of the slightest cloud I was spitting tacks. I wanted to know where I'd been, where I was going and why my legs hurt so much!

The answer to all my questions now adorns my wrist during runs! A Garmin 310XT! At a glance I can see my pace, how far I've gone, the time of day and how long I've been running. I even managed to beat my virtual partner to work today! I just wish that it would then do my job so I could have a sleep in!

I had a nice negotiation with the lovely Karl at Trig Instruments and got the best price in NZ (less than their advertised price due to price guarantee)! And had it delivered right to work. No need for credit card, I was able to pay by fastcheque. All is good! And now I can eat again! And drive my car to work on wet days (not all of them or I'd never get a run in!). And even have a coffee at work, though I've become quite fond of red zinger tea made from tea bags. (Instant coffee is not coffee - it is a hot beverage that bears no resemble to a delicious cup of java.

And so I leave you now, for tomorrow the wide open road (ok Oriental parade round to Hataitai Beach) calls and me and my Garmin are ready to answer. Can't wait to take it up Mt Kaukau!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I am hurt to my core

Runners need to strengthen their core muscles, pilates strengthens the core muscles therefore pilates would be a good thing, right?. An hour of pilates has left me barely able to breathe in and out without groaning. My muscles are threatening to go on strike. They tell me they are all that stands between my internal organs and the outside world and if I cause them any more trouble they are just letting go and I'll see how much use 5 layers of skin are.

I crawled home from work, wondering 'Is 6 o'clock too early for bed?'. I decided maybe it was so I'll be a devil and stay up until 8.  I have come to the conclusion that Pilates just makes running seem easier because it doesn't involve you having both legs raised off the ground for what seems like an hour, teasing them with nearly placing them back on the floor and then not. Of course you do get to lie down more with Pilates. The only time you get to lie down with running is when you fall over and then people never let you lie there and enjoy it.

With less than two weeks until the Hutt River events I'm vacillating. Do I do the half, the 10k or just be a great support. Currently my answer would be 'whichever option does not require any use of any muscles'. I'm such a snob, I really don't want to do the 10k. But I have to remind myself that I enjoyed the two 5ks I did. Oh the decisions! I will have my answer by morning. Of course a half marathon would be a true test of the magic of taping. But if I do the 10k I could run with May from work. I need chocolate!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looooong run

Today I ran to Pompeii via French Bay. Ok, I ran to Te Papa to see the exhibition 'A Day in Pompeii' after doing my regular homage visit to the McCahons on level 5. The wind was wild in Wellington today so I decided against running the Skyline Track as my powers of flight are not yet fully developed. The waterfront was wild! At one point I felt like my right leg was being blown away to the south! I can't believe in January I had to be rugged up in my merino 2XU t and my running jacket. I'm not certain polyprop gloves wouldn't have gone amiss!

It was a wild adventure! I don't know if my hair a la 'something about Mary' was really up to Te Papa's standards. The run was far better than the exhibition but at least it gave me a purpose. I couldn't believe it when I got home and it wasn't even 1 and I'd had a run, been to an exhibition, gone to two markets and come away with a huge haul of fresh fruit and veg, done the vacuuming and a load of washing! A most pleasing day was had! I'm hmming and haaing over running to work to tomorrow. The lure of a cup off coffee and a homemade muffin when I get there will probably convince me. But I do love running along the waterfront....and not just because it's flat and Tory St is not!

Off to retape my leg now. I gave it some tapefree time today and realised what an excellent job the taping was doing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A brisk walk up a hill

A work colleague yesterday asked me if I would be keen for a brisk walk up a hill today. I thought it sounded like a fine idea so agreed. Wellington is not short of hills so I imagined a pounding of suburban streets would be the order of the day.

We were joined on our walk by Leo, the confused male cavoodle belonging to a friend of Ruth's, who sported a lovely pink ribbon...this may have explained his need to cock his leg every five minutes in a bid to demonstrate his masculinity. The three of us headed out to Khandallah in Ruth's little red Starlet, in a roundabout way - a driving tour of Wellington was provided free by Ruth. Parking by the summer pool we headed up the path.  The sign read "Mt Kaukau" - the mountain bit should have been a warning! We headed bravely up at Ruth's pace with the occasional breather (Ruth and I) and leg cocking (Leo). It was probably three quarters of the way up that it became apparent that it was some time since she'd been up there and the hill seemed to have grown in that time. There were indeterminable steps and the path seemed to always be promising an end just round the corner but never producing it.

Finally we reached the TV mast at the top. Some smart guy had labelled the stile at the top "The Hillary Step" -  and they weren't far wrong! The view from the top was worth the slog though. You could see most of Wellington spread out beneath you.  Forget Mt Vic! This is the place to go for a fantastic view!

A "nice well-spoken young Khandallah man" (Ruth's description) kindly told us how to go back down another way. The route is sign posted but not on par with the Montana Heritage trail. There could have been potential for me to get lost I'm sure (who am I kidding....I can get lost in Westfield Queensgate). When we told the NWSYKM the way we'd come he informed us we'd taken the boring route.

Well, by boring I guess he meant not life-threatening for walkers! The downward path was a reasonable facsimile of a trail with the all important channel caused by winter rains running down the middle. It would have been fun at a run but picking our way down meant we could enjoy every nuance. I said to Ruth that the NWSYKM probably ran down at full pelt, something he confirmed when we met him at the bottom. I think by that point Ruth had other not-so-nice names for him!

It gave me great sympathy for those kind fit/fast souls who have borne with me on runs that have pushed me to my limits and barely raised a sweat on them. I really appreciate Ruth introducing me to Mt Kaukau and I plan on returning to it very soon and this time I'll run it!

What today did prove is that the wonderful strapping that Michele showed me does help my foot! My leg has no chance to go equine on me. My foot stays perfectly in place and no stressing occurs.  The padding in my shoe has also helped but I wore my trail shoes today and the lack of padding was not a problem. Trail has hammered my foot in the past so I am well pleased!  Ooo rah!  Someone buy that woman a drink!