Stomach Pain Makes Short Run Shorter

Kristie and I went out for our first post half marathon run today. The idea was to go for a short 7 KM run, but as Kristie and I both seem to be suffering from post Sydney colds, it was probably a mistake to go.

Kristie wasn't feeling great before hand, so a couple kilometres into the run, we decided to cut the run down to 5 KM. Along the way, we had to have a bathroom break, and afterwards, Kristie's stomach just wasn't doing well, so we shortened the run even further to 4 KM.

In the end, the run itself wasn't difficult, the difficulties were with our colds and stomach.

Sydney Half Marathon

Last Sunday we were in Sydney, Australia for the Blackmore's Running Festival Half Marathon! And it was probably the best, most exciting, picturesque and interesting course we've done so far. But more on that later.

How Not to Train For a Half

When we arrived in Sydney initially, it wasn't our end destination. We rented a car to drive to Wagga Wagga, which is about 460 KM south west of Sydney. Which is a walk in the park for a Canadian, where a drive from Edmonton to Winnipeg can is about 1400 KM. So the drive to Wagga Wagga was a cakewalk. But... When you add that on to a cab ride, a four hour plane ride, customs, car-rental, etc., and then the drive, that is a lot of time doing basically nothing. So our first day was pretty sedate.

When we arrived in Wagga Wagga, we went out for dinner with our hosts, Dan and Lisa. Lisa was Kristie's PhD advisor, and now lives in Wagga Wagga.

Oh, by the way, I'm pretty much going to say Wagga Wagga as much as possible!

So we arrived in Wagga Wagga, and visited for a bit, and then went out for a special even dinner at Wagga Wagga University, where Lisa and Dan work. The university has a winery, and they were celebrating a new vintage that they just bottled.

Anyway, we were up kind of late, but luckily we don't drink, so we didn't have to worry too much about our run the next morning.

First Run

The next morning, we got up early to go for our first run, and what should we see, right in the park across the street? Kangaroos! Huge Kangaroos! They weren't even the Giant Red Kangaroos, and these suckers were huge! What a great way to start the run!
We ran around Albert Lake in Wagga Wagga, which I think is a man made lake, but it is just under 6 KM around the perimeter, so we did it twice. But one of the great things about running here is that there was tonnes of bird life! And I'm not talking robins or finches here; I'm talking Pelicans, Parrots, Cockatoos, Crested Pigeons, Australian Magpies, Ducks, Swamp Hens, Swans, and many, many more! This place is an ornithologist's dream!

Second Run

The next day, we did the same run, only this time we brought our camera with us. And this time, we hardly saw any bird life, and we didn't see any kangaroos that morning either. *sigh*

We were planning on doing another 10 KM, but the previous days seemed to have caught up with us, so we only did around 6 KM.

No More Runs for You

The next day, we left for Sydney, and we HAD planned to do about 3-4 runs before the race, and we had already mapped them out. But, the tourists in us, got the better of us, and we spent virtually every day just walking around Sydney!

We put on so much mileage via walking, and due to the hot weather, we were wearing our sandals for the first time of the season, and as such, we both got lots of blisters and very sore legs for days on end!

Luckily, the blisters had enough time to get calloused up, and our sore legs got better as well.

I've got to say though, I wouldn't change a thing about our pre-race days in Sydney! It is a gorgeous city to explore, and the best way to do it is via walking.

Race Day

On race day, we got up at 4:00 a.m. and called a cab to arrive at 4:30 a.m.

None of the ferries were running that early (we were in East Balmain and the race started at Bradfield Park, Milsons Point), but the cab dropped us off at a train station, which were running at that point.

We arrived at the starting line, which was basically right under the harbour bridge, and went from there.

The course itself, as you can see by the map winds all around the CBD of Sydney. There were a few hills, one of which almost had me giving up at the half way point, and it also had some incredible views! There were tonnes of drink station, lots and lots of volunteers and fans along the course, and was just a dream to run.

The final kilometre or so of the course wrapped around The Rocks, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, and finally ending at the Botanic Gardens!

We finished the race in 2 hours, four minutes and thirteen seconds by my watch, but the official race time was a little less.

If any of you are into running, and travelling. You MUST do this course! You will not regret it! It was an incredible experience, and one I would love to do again in the near future!

The run before the run

Today was the practice run for the half Marathon in two weeks, and it was...ok.

We probably couldn't have asked for better weather as we're coming near the half way mark to September in Wellington; which usually means cold, bleak, rain, and wind!  Lot's and lots of wind! Apparently that is coming tomorrow. Today's weather however, was wonderful; nice and sunny, and not too much wind.

We started out the run at Balaena Bay at about 6:30 a.m. as we wanted to emulate the start time for the run in Sydney in a couple of weeks. As we made our way our way south for the first three or four kilometres, we were pushed along by a gentle wind, but had a great view of the sun rising above the harbour.

At about the 4 KM mark, we ducked into The Cutting, into the Miramar neighbourhood, and then into Seatoun. From that point on, it was nothing but but gorgeous sea views from that point on.

I was feeling pretty good throughout the entire run, except for the last 2 KM. I have a feeling it is nothing but a psychological thing, but I always find the last two KM (even in a shorter run) to be the hardest.

Anyway, run completed. We're not breaking any records, but we're slowly but surely getting more and more kilometres under our belts.

Half Marathon before the half marathon

Just a warm up

Today's run was just a warm up to keep our legs energized. It wasn't very fast, it was super short, but again, this was only a warm up for tomorrow's 21.1 KM.

Tis but a warm up.

Slip Sliding Away

Today, was a freaky day weather-wise here in Wellington. It was cold, it was rainy, it was WINDY, it was sunny, it was cold, it was rainy, it was WINDY, it was... well, you get the point.

After I got home, I took the dogs for a walk before we went out for our run, and on that half hour walk, it went from gloomy, to glorious, to miserable all in the space of a short walk!

So today, as we are fair-weather runners, we decided to take a short run through Otari Bush as it is fairly sheltered from the wind and the rain. The route itself is only about 1.5 KM one way, so we knew we weren't going to get a great workout, but we wanted to get at least a couple kilometres under our belt, but we didn't want to be soaked or blown into the harbour either.

Even though it was a very short run, our time was abysmal as the trail was quite muddy and we didn't want to slip and break anything prior to going to Sydney. In honour of the muddy run, we decided to do a little something different with the post run photo.

Muddy Shoes

Planet Without Apes

Planet Without Apes
Tonight Kristie and I went to a lecture at the Embassy Theatre titled: Planet Without Apes, by Craig Stanford.

Craig Standford is one of the lucky few who have studied under Jane Goodall, in Gombe National Park in Tanzania. The lecture was quite good and interesting, and it covered a broad range of topics from the branching point of our shared ancestry, to the plight of the Bonobos in the Congo due to Coltan mining.

Personally, I was hoping to learn a bit more than I did from this lecture, but I understand that in forums such as this, the lectures have to have a broad appeal to many different audience members; it will not often be a deep dive into a single topic.

That being said, I still really enjoyed it.

One thing that I thought was quite strange was after Craig Standford's speach, a faculty member of Massey University, who sponsored the event, got up to give a brief speech on the same general topic.  That wasn't the strange part... The strange part was while he was giving his speech, multiple people got up out of their seats, and left the theatre!

I thought: Wow! Not only is that really distracting, but it was incredibly rude!

Like I said, as an audience member I found these people going for the exits a distraction, I can only imagine what the faculty member thought as he was speaking.

Morning Runs

Last night, we had an unexpected appointment, so we had to defer our evening run. But the weather is going to be turning to custard soon, so we didn't want to lose any good weather days for training; I am a total fair weather trainer! So because we had to defer that run, we decided to run first thing the next morning.

Love/Hate Relationship

I am of two minds when it comes to morning runs. Actually, most people would say I only have half a mind, but that is beyond the point.


On one hand, I absolutely hate getting out of a nice warm bed, and going out into the cold; it was only 5 degrees C this morning! Added to that is the fact that we've got to get up so frigging early! 5:00 a.m. not a time for exercise! 5:00 a.m. is barely even appropriate to go to the bathroom!  Speaking of which, there have also been a few episodes in the past, where the bathroom routine didn't correspond to the run. So half way through the run, I'm clenching like a pair of vice-grips, and still have ages to go before reaching a bathroom...not good!

Look, I know I'm a wimp; I know that I winge a lot, but....ok, I don't know how to counter that statement.


On the other hand, once we get going, I find that it turns out to be a very good run! The runs early in the morning, are generally done right by home as we don't want to go driving and then running...too much time! And because we're running straight from the house, we are pretty much stuck doing hills, which is actually a good thing.

Ngaio is a suburb that is pretty much nothing but hills. Actually, come to think of it, Wellington itself is pretty much nothing but hills...except for the waterfront.

While I find the hills more difficult than the flat (duh!), I also love the accomplishment of making it to the top of a hill. Plus, the half marathon in Sydney is suppose to have hills, so it helps with the training.

The final good point about the morning runs, is the fact that I generally feel energized for the rest of the day.  I feel euphoric for hours afterwards. It is like the feeling I get pre-migraine, but without the migraine.

Post running coffee is a total perk of morning runs

Squeaky Clean

With only a few days left until we leave for vacation, we thought it might be a good idea to get Angus cleaned up before going into the poky.

Angus is the kind of dog that can't stay clean for more than an hour, , but when he is clean, he looks cute as a bug!  In fact, not long after this photo was taken, we took the pups for a walk in the Ngaio gorge, which is a natural ravine with gravel paths that lead along the Kawharawhara creek. Well, with Angus' low belly clearance (being a Shih Tzu and all) and his strange walking gate that seems to attract dirt and mud, his belly is already dirty and dingy.

Oh, and those demon eyes are indicative of his personality on the whole.

Angus cleans up nice!

8 KM and Feeling Great! NOT!

We're starting to get down to the wire here.

We've got just a little over a week's worth of training until we head out to Sydney, and with race day looming ever closer, we want to ensure that we follow the training regiment as closely as possible. That being said...I'm getting frigging tired!

Our mileage is constantly adding up, and our days off are becoming less frequent. As such, even the shorter runs like today's 8 KM, are feeling tiring.

We've got a 7 KM run tomorrow after work, and I'm just so happy that it is only 7 KM. I wish we had the day off, but that won't be happening. Luckily we've got Wednesday off to go to a lecture.