Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Auckland Marathon 2007

I completed my second Auckland Marathon the other weekend. My time was 4:08:20, which surprisingly is about 12 minutes faster than last years.

I still haven't done much running, but Kel and I do a fair amount of other stuff, including boxing two or three times a week.

In any case, this race went quite a lot better than my last few. I think the key was eating quite a lot in the early morning before the race, then not eating much at all while running. In some races (including my first and still fastest) I feel the low blood sugar, and pig out on energy gel and whatever sport drink is on hand. In almost all my previous races this seems like it's led to my stomach waking up and going into digestion mode, taking blood from my legs, which then cramp up. As you can see from the splits below, this last race's split times were much more consistent than my Rotorua marathon splits. In fact, I held my finish together much stronger than even my fastest marathon. In that race I dropped to 10 minute miles in the last quarter, and only managed the time I did (3:48) by virtue of the massive buffer I'd built up in the first half of the race. In the Auckland this year, I went light on the drinks and water in the last half, and only took one big food break, at about 30k. Definitely going to use that strategy again . . . oh, and do some running before the next one. We'll see how Craig does in the Marine Corp marathon, hopefully that'll move the goalposts a little farther from the couch. ;-)

Auckland Marathon

Auckland Marathon 2007
KM Split
1 6:02
2 5:43
3 5:55
4 5:57
5 5:51
6 5:51
7 5:23
8 5:41
9 6:17
10 5:37
11 5:17
12 7:24
13 5:40(est) 28:21
14 5:40(est) 28:21
15 5:40(est) 28:21
16 5:40(est) 28:21
17 5:40(est) 28:21
18 5:16(est) 10:32
19 5:16(est) 10:32
20 6:14
21 5:32
22 5:43
23 5:57
24 5:55
25 5:36
26 5:34
27 6:04
28 5:36(est) 11:12
29 5:36(est) 11:12
30 5:53
31 5:53
32 6:06
33 6:17
34 6:46
35 6:20
36 5:54
37 6:18
38 5:46
39 6:06
40 5:57
41 6:31(est) 13:02
42 6:31(est) 13:02
Fin: 4:08:20

Skiing at Whakapapa

In mid August Kel and I went on a ski trip with our friends Brent and Maria.

We stayed at The Chateau. I really enjoyed it. It felt like the old Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The facilities were nice, sauna, warm pool, all the typical ski village stuff, plus the food in the restaurant was excellent.

Chateau Whakapapa

I rented telemark ski's like I usually do. Unfortunately, it didn't work out like it usually does. Normally, the telemark ski's are the latest and greatest high performance demo equipment that just lays around in the shop because nobody ever rents it. But at Whakapapa, the rental tele skis were dusty old antiques that they had to pull down out of the rafters. Oops. Ah well, lesson learned for next time.

On the bright side, I think Kel's hooked on skiing now, so we'll have to get out once or twice when we're over for the holidays.

Whakapapa Chair Lift

A month or so after we were there Mt. Ruapehu had a little eruption and threw a lahar down the mountainside. Do a search on "Ruapehu Eruption" on Flickr to see some pictures of the big black streak down the slopes.

As you can see, the scenery was incredible, and the weather was excellent (on the second day at least). But the snow conditions weren't nearly so nice. It was crusty and melty, you got the impression that they were just a warm day or two away from being back to bare rock. I miss real snow. Here's hoping for a nice white xmas and a blizzard or two while we're back in Minnesota this winter. :-)

Mt. Nguarahue from the Chateau

Catching up (again)

Once again it's been ages since I've posted. Here's the quick rundown on what's been going on:

The second half of Tony's visit

Before our SCUBA diving and our trip around the north, Tony and I were down in the Waitomo region to do one of the many cave tours. It's the second visit to the caves for me. This time we did a more physical tour than the one Kel and I did. This one also started with a long (50m?) abseil down the entry shaft into the cave. Some of the highlights were being dropped one at a time down a dark shaft into a deep pool, swimming through a waterfall into a waterslide like tube, and a medium long abseil down a waterfall. I highly recommend the caves to anybody visiting. I'll definitely go again!

After the caves, we met up with Kel in Hamilton to go see the All Blacks play Canada. Speaking of the All Blacks, they were put out of the Rugby World Cup (by France!) in the quarter finals . . . suck. New Zealand is hosting the next world cup in 2011, if they can ever get their stadium controversy sorted. Maybe Jesse Ventura can come over to help? ;-) Anyway, good fun was had watching them crush Canada at Waikato stadium.

Whale Island from Kohi LookoutAfter the trip around Waikato and the northland, we headed to the Bay of Plenty and Kel's hometown. We had a nice relaxing time sightseeing there, before driving on to meet up with Brent and the gang for fly fishing on the Tongariro river. After getting skunked on the river, we headed back up through Rotorua. Though it turns out that we missed quite a lot of excitement the next day as Brent's friend Steve leapt from the car to tackle a couple of Kune Kune piglets with moves reminiscent of Jim Fowler from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. ;-)

In Rotorua, we went to the Tamaki village to do the "Maori Experience" thing. That was fun, though a bit too touristy for me now. I've had really amazing Hāngi with Kel's relatives in Opotiki, and seeing a haka performed by the Rotorua locals doesn't quite make the same impression as seeing it done by the All Blacks, or for that matter this crew of badasses that Tiki Taane rouned up for his "Tangaroa - God of the Sea" video. Speaking of Māori, Kel and I have started taking community ed classes. Our teacher just happens to be an old classmate of hers from Whakatane.

After Rotorua, we headed up to Matamata to do the Lord of the Rings tour of the Shire shooting location. As much as I love the LotR, this was definitely embarrassingly touristy. There's this little hobbit hole looking bus stop/information station in the middle of town where you wait for the hobbit van to come and pick you up. It was a brisk fall day, and it was just Tony, myself, and a fat bearded european uber geek hanging around the bus stop. I kept having 80's movie visions of the bus dumping us off in front of the local rugby club, and somebody yelling NEEEEEERRRRRRDDS!! as the team came thundering out to pummel us.

HobbitonOnce we got into it and there were only sheep around to see us, it was a great experience. A lucky break with the weather prevented the site from being demolished on schedule, and the farmer who owns the land managed to negotiate some rights to what was left behind. Unfortunately, those rights don't include the ability to do any restoration, but what's there is enough to line up the landscape with the movie. Listening to our tour guides tales of some of the people who've made their pilgrimages to the site made Ye Olde Minnesota Renaissance Festival sound like a stuffy old law firm. ;-)
Bag End

After that it was back to Auckland and back to work for me. Tony had a day out on the east coast, and a day to bum around the city, then he was off.

Long rambling late night post brought to you by the weekly maintenance outage in Blizzard's World of Warcraft servers. ;-)

Shire Party Tree from Bag End