Sunday, 11 May 2014

52 in 52... #15..... Half Killed Me Going Up... Finished Me Off Coming Back Down...

For the first time in a few years Total Sport decided to change one of their Xterra venues. Whitford had nowhere near enough parking and they were in danger of some shorter runners disappearing into the mud, never to be seen again!

Their choice.. Waharau Regional Park. Steve Neary and Keith Crook were both telling everyone what a neat run it would be, while  
Total Sport very quietly slipped a 9.9 out of 10 difficulty rating on the Super-Long course!

Raceday was supposed to be pretty miserable... and as usual the forecast was wrong. Total Sport had obviously been very nice to the Weather Gods and it was a magic day.

Kate was with me to do the Short Course and we got there nice and early as usual, the regulars know that it pays to get in early for a good park, with Mal Law and the LTH arriving at the same time as us and Steve & Keith about a minute later. Keith still in a Moonboot for a few weeks with a foot fracture was just there for moral support.

It was still a bit of a hike from the carpark to the start area, to check in and get the pre-race stuff sorted. Most of the usual suspects including Michael Dall were there again.. he should be doing 52 in 52 as he is at nearly every event I am at!

Not much chance to catch up with Susan and Richard at the Inov-8 tent as they were flat out selling. The way their shoes behave on tough runs I am not surprised. I had 3 runners ask me how I was staying upright when they were sliding down hills on their butts!  
The X-Talons are magic and almost an unfair advantage!

So after a stirring race briefing from Dave, where he proceeded to try to scare all of the Super-Long Runners into taking the shorter 'Long' Course, we lined up for the start on time as usual!

A nice cruisy gentle and steady uphill and a small downhill right in the first kilometre felt alright... then we turned off the road onto the trail... and started to climb!

There was all sorts, there were steps, boardwalks, tree-roots, grass, flax and lots and lots of mud! It was wonderful trail and I know I would have enjoyed it so much more if it was runnable. But for this big fella there is no way that I can run up a hill that big. Which meant walking... lots! I was one of those Dave was saying should have run the Long course... and I am sure that I will in the future. But for 52 in 52 I need to do 21.1km or longer and the Super Long was the only course on the menu!

Over the next 3km we climbed 330m vertical, then a nice wee 65m downhill for a km. Then another 400+ metres vertical in the next 5km or so got us to the trig.

That should be good, shouldn't it? Downhill now... well, not quite... The first downhills through the trees at the top were very rooty and verry muddy... definitely broken ankle territory if not treated with respect (and that is not what I need now)... I did enjoy this section more though as I could at least run most of it.

We battled our way down the hill, with me being passed much more often that I am used to these days... I didn't feel I had gone out too fast - maybe they just went out too slow! We did get some cracker views on the way down... I had actually run some of this trail before when 3 or 4 of us went of course at the End of the World Run last year.

Down with about 5km to go I came upon Allan Ure from Photos4Sale at the second to last Aid Station... Allan, like me, was having a shit of a day, but we both managed to smile about it!! Allan gets better and better at catching world class photos at these events and Total Sports are on a winner with him!

The last 5km really hurt 400+ metres vertical drop, all on road just hammered the body into submission. I love downhills, but you can only push 90kg onto your knees and hips so many times before every step starts to hurt.

Photo by Allan Ure, Photos4Sale
But I got there, down the last straight to see Kate waiting for me, the lovely Christine Crook on the camera (Allan should hire her, she takes great pics) and over the finish line for a beer and a sausage! I had taken 3 Hours and 26 minutes to complete the run... almost exactly twice the time it took to run the Taupo Half one week before... Hard? You bet!!!

In Waharau Total Sport have just about got the ultimate 21km test and it is a great addition to their stable of runs. I am not ashamed to say that it is too tough for me and I don't see me doing the Super-Long again (but I never say never). I can see me attempting the Long Course and may give it a go next year... plus I will take my togs and hit the Miranda Hot Pools as well!

52 in 52 #14.... Concrete & Cobbles

The Fat Man Run marked the completion of the first quarter of the 52 in 52 Challenge... next step - get the next 25% done!

Next on the list was the Taupo Half Marathon, another special one for me as this was my second ever half back in 2006 and the first one I was prepared for (Huntly was an 'off-the'cuff decision).

The original forecast was for an overcast rainy day, this changed the day before to occasional showers... none of which we ever saw!

Lainy and I picked up Lance Hunniford in Rotorua, Lance was taking part in just his second road half... although these days a half marathon is a bit of a short sprint for him with his ultra training.

Got to the venue nice and early as is my habit, registration all went well, they had a bit of a problem with the shirts being too small, mine was a bit snug, but still fine for me. Caught up with lots of friends, Rog and Beaker from Hamilton, Rebecca and Mike from the big smoke, Lyndsey and Damien from Te Kuiti... even caught up with Kori Kita Queen, Kate Townsley who wasn't running but came down to say hello!

Also bumped into Michael Dall, Len and Bronnie Pemberton... and more...  
with well over 2000 entrants there were people everywhere.

The start was done in waves from the end of the marina, we then zoomed around the marina and out onto the lakefront. Right from the start I had trouble settling on a pace, too fast, then too slow... nothing felt quite right.

About 2km in the good old lactic in the hammy flared up again. This proves to me it is the harder road and constant tempo of road running that is causing it, as I had no problems on the trails of Fat Man. However it wasn't as bad as it has been in the past and I just eased a touch in pace and kept just below the 'too painful' threshold!

While, like Wellington, the Taupo Half threads its way along the water, the difference I guess is that Taupo feels open and exposed and I guess, because I lived there for a few years, not that special to run. Whereas Wellington felt intimate and special with the hills and cliffs one side and the water the other... but I digress.

We worked our way out to Mahuta Road where there is an 'out and back' section of about 700m each way... I spotted the every exuberant Michael Dall already well ahead of me and, after I turned, Rog Morris not that far behind... Rog (left) did me a huge favour by becoming the motivator to push harder and stay in front of him. Little did I know that catching me was part of the motivation that dragged him through to a PB!

Instead of retracing our outward run exactly, the return run takes a left and heads initially down to the brand new walkway along the lakefront... solid concrete footpath walkway (above), really hard on this old body but with no grass to run on it was the only option.

Off the 'footpath' and onto... cobbles (left), the fire and frying pan adage comes to mind. At least with some portions of the cobbles there was short grass or off track options quite often.

The Cobbles get most of the way back to town, then we were re-united with the road, back down and around the Marina and up that lovely little hill - the first time I ran this, the hill nearly killed me at the end, now, after several years of dedicated trail running it was just a bump and not so tough!

In the end a very respectable 1:44:40, just over 5 minutes faster than the first time in 2006 and good enough for 12th in my Division and 236th overall out of about 2300. 

After the event a group of us met up for lunch then back for the prizegiving - didn't win a thing - then back home with #13 in the books.

Not my favourite run, but extremely well organized and fantastic to meet up with so many familiar faces. Many find this their favourite Half and it is definitely one to try for yourself.

52 in 52 .... #13 .... Bring on the Fat Man

 Click on any Photo for a better look!

It doesn't happen very often... not a single Half Marathon anywhere in the country - at least that's what the countries foremost Running Calendar (New Zealand Running Calendar) said.

 What to do? Then the germ of an idea, maybe get 20 or so people who will run with me and we can have a half somewhere near Rotorua... how hard can it be?

So, onto Facebook, create an event and invite everyone on my friends list who I know has laced up a running shoe! Wow, 30 minutes later I had 23 yes's and lots of maybes!

How to look after my guests, a quick chat to Himanshu Parmar (Ash) who, together with his family, own several Super Liquor Outlets - including the one just down the road at Te Ngae! Ash was immediate in his reply... yes, they would provide the Beer, Cider and Soft Drinks for the finishers... great!

Next I put the word out to my BNI Network and got quite a few spot prizes, then Clive Start of CVS Computing came forward with a Laser Printer... that soon turned into a printer, 3 bottles of top wine and a usb port!

Susan from Inov-8 was next - as if they haven't done enough already - with a kind offer of 4 prizes! The generosity of both the runners and outside sponsors allowed me in the end to provide a spot prize for every runner - even if it was just a bar of chocolate!

Next job... a course, well for this that was pretty easy. I love the course that Ra of N-duro Events uses for the Tikitapu half at the end of the year - except that it is too short! So I reversed the direction and added in a wee loop fortuitously called 'Loop Rd' which took it to just over Half Marathon distance!

Next I got some requests for a shorter run, around 10km. I could have just sent them around
the Lake twice... but anyone can do that on a visit to Rotorua. So I mapped out a run with a fair bit of climb and some nice trail in the middle... came in a touch over 12km. They don't know how lucky they were. The original route I planned had them climbing from the bottom to the very top of Moerangi Road I solid climb of 2.1km with 240m vertical climbing, it is not steep, it just does not stop.

However that was going to be way too long, so they just climbed for 500m and veered into Buchanan Road.

The day dawned fine and frosty which usually means a stellar day. I was out early driving around the forest checking the arrows I had put out over the previous couple of days... a couple down long narrow overgrown roads I trusted would be ok as everything else was.

Then down to the Lake to set up the Gazebo and tables and barbeque. Put the entry sheets out and organize the basic timing system. 

Relief when people started to turn up.. Lance Hunniford was the very first, on his bike (motor) and then the influx began. Entry was by donation - it just had to be a note.. and donate people did. Daughter Kate was in charge of Registration and did a great job.

Lainy was taking pictures and helping wherever she was needed and my good friend Andy Gilbert was there to help and finished up doing the timing! He was an absolute hero, as the wind got up and it was bitter, he was huddled up under the gazebo freezing his butt off and efficiently sorting out everyones time!

So anyway, I got everyone where they should be, delivered a pretty casual briefing as it was really just a 'Timed Training Run' and we started spot on time at 9:30am.

As I said, the run is a good one, head from the beach into the right hand entrance of the Blue Lake Trail, a few metres in take a right on the great trail though to Windy Road (which runs parallel to Tarawera Road). Down Windy Rd towards Rotorua, nice fast open Forestry Road to spread the field and suck you in that this might be easy!
It was towards the end of this that Geoff Higgins raced past me and then stopped, he had busted a gut to catch me to take a picture, Geoff gave so much on the day and was a fabulous participant.

About a km past the Hill Road exit (at which everyone except Paul Charteris's group followed the arrow and went right), you take a hard left and head up a slightly overgrown Forestry Rd to the bottom of Sidewinder. This was one of the few hiccups on the day... one of only 2 arrows I hadn't checked that morning had been moved. Fortunately Tim Day was a local and knew the way and marked it pretty clearly with branches.

This marked the start of 4km of climbing, up Sidewinder, up the top part of Pipeline, onto and up Frontal Lobotomy and then a really nasty bit at the top of Tawa Rd to the entrance of Tuhoto Ariki.

Early on in Tuhoto Ariki I was joined by Allan Yeoman who cruised along with me to the next uphill and then left me behind. I love Tuhoto though and, as usual, this was the best part of the run. Towards the end I caught up with Tom Vanstone from Tauranga and we had a good chat as we worked out way around Loop Road through the overgrown bit and up Moerangi Road.

Somewhere along Bush Road at the top of the hill we were caught
up by Mike Duckett and Lorna Mills. I tried to keep on their tail and did ok, even zooming past them on the technical downhills from Bush into Buchanan and down Buchanan's Track.

Out of Buchanan's and the climb up Tikitapu Rd to the Blue Lake Trail started and they soon left me behind again. Round Blue Lake and through to the finish in just over 2:19 and happy with the run... especially with not even a twinge from the hammy in the last 19km!!!

Then a beer, some of Jenni Hoogeveen's fabulous Carrot Cake and a sausage from Jan and the Hospice team on the bbq! Then it was time to sit back and watch everyone else arrive, including Tarawera Ultra Race Director Paul Charteris doing his Anton impression and finally Ash, who struggled with an injury for most of the run but never gave up! 

Everyone made it in, only a couple made wrong turns... so they got more run than they bargained on!

I added up the money and we had 58 starters who delivered $1375, with a further $300 being raised on the bbq. Not bad from an event just designed to give me another run!
A massive thanks to everyone, I have missed so many names that made this day special, so I thought I would list everyone... the beauty of blogs is that I can do that:

  • Lorraine Thorne
  • Kate Tennent
  • Andy Gilbert

  • Ash and his Super Liquor Team
  • Inov-8 one of my Principal Sponsors for this whole year.
  • BNI
  • Springfield Dairy
  • Clive Start of CVS Computing Limited 
  • Justin Cheyne of Bespoke Solutions 
  • Nadege Crocker of Little Crafty Kiwi 
  • Terrain Industries in Taupo 
  • Kate Townsley or Kori Kita Sportswear 
  • Carla Moriarty 
  • Mamaku Blue 
  • Wright Bait & Tackle in Morrinsville 
  • Morrinsville Paper Plus 
  • Planet Bike at the Waipa Forest 
  • Wai Ora Group 
  • All-Sew Embroidery 
  • Gull
  • Rotorua Wake and Ski Club for the venue!

21km Male
1 Tim Day 1:59:07
2 Phil Bonney 1:59:33
3 Steve Neary 1:59:59
4 Oscar Emery 2:08:52
5 Allan Yeoman 2:10:03
6 Jonathon Hagger 2:15:39
7 Mike Duckett 2:18:41
8 Mike Tennent 2:19:46
9 Geoff Higgins 2:20:01
10 Darren Crocker 2:20:47
11 Tom Vanstone 2:21:18
12 Damien Sellier 2:25:00
13 Marcus Daws 2:27:49
14 Mgcini Masuku 2:28:25
15 Mark Campbell 2:29:10
16 Lance Hunniford 2:32:33
17 Peter Anthony 2:32:34
18 David Free 2:34:48
19 Rob Langley 2:35:15
20 Clive Start 2:37:25
21 Matt Rayment 2:48:50
22 Tago Mharapara 2:48:50
23 Mark Guy 2:56:06
24 Paul Charteris 3:00:48
25 Damien Anselmi 3:43:00
26 Himanshu Parmar 3:51:38

12km Male
1 Adam Good 1:05:09
2 Rog Morris 1:14:17
3 Darryl Conn 1:15:04
4 Brian Prescott 1:38:09

12 km Walk Female
1 Bronwyn Kamphorst 2:11:33
2 Michelle Cobb 2:11:33

21.1km Female
1 Sarah Biss 1:57:38
2 Dianne Bulled 2:08:52
3 Jenni Hoogeveen 2:12:00
4 Lorna Mills 2:19:03
5 Jane Clark 2:20:40
6 Raewynne Adrian Blommerde 2:32:33
7 Carla Moriarty 2:34:00
8 Susan Prater 2:42:17
9 Sandy Herewini 2:45:59
10 Rebecca Short 2:46:49
11 Emma Dryland 2:53:42
12 Gabriella Guy 2:56:06
13 Hayley Cobb 2:59:21
14 Amy Yeoman 3:09:15
15 Rebecca Edgecombe 3:28:00 (Sweeper)
16 Lyndsey Anselmi 3:33:28
17 Wendy Goes No time

12km Female
1 Caris Teo 1:12:21
2 Philippa Hyde 1:17:06
3 Constance Crook 1:19:05
4 Amanda Heapy 1:25:42
5 Nadege Crocker 1:29:58
6 Anna Prescott 1:38:09
7 Anna Gould 1:53:00
8 Kayla May Peace Radcliffe 1:54:53
9 Lesley Wilson 2:30:33 (Sweeper)

And of course Supporter extraordinaire Keith Crook with his bung foot!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you for a great day!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

52 in 52 #12 - HBTR #3 - Wine Anyone?

Well after the previous weeks 'non-run in the Hawkes Bay, I was travelling familiar roads the next Saturday on my way to the Hammer Nutrition Hawkes Bay Trail Running Series Event #3 (quite a mouthful that) - the Sacred Hill Happy Hihi... what is a Hihi? It is commonly known as the stitchbird. Cute little fellow too!

We were very fortunate to be able to stay Saturday night with the lovely Lesley Wislon a mere 10km or so down the road from the race... by we I mean the lovely Lainy and my precious daughter Kate who was entered into the 'short' event. It was a luxury to get up 'not-so-early' and cruise down to registration - although we were still one of the first there.
It was a fantastic day with frost on the windscreen at Lesley's house and a real bite in the air, but beautiful blue skies as the pay-off for the cold.

We were parked in the field next to a vineyard - which gave no inkling as to the variety of course we would encounter later in the day.

The Laughing Gno..  oops I mean Philip delivered his usual pep-talk disguised as a race-briefing, then as he has very 'kindly' done at each event, he put the mike in my hands to talk about the challenge and we were off.

First a lap around the upper vineyard, a pleasant little scamper had me thinking maybe this might be the cruisiest of the HBTR Series. After we crossed the mat by the finish after this little lap we veered off to the right  ... and down the hill, into another vineyard, some more cuisy running and then off to the right again and onto the trail.

Some lovely trail followed, ups, downs, through a small stream with a bit of mud thrown in. Back into some farmland for some more rolling country, into the forest and the down and out alongside the river and right at the bottom we were back out onto another vineyard. We ran the stopbank around this vineyard, then through a gate and up a 'nice' climb, then back into  farmland traversing paddock while climbing up towards the lovely marshal at the gate who shepherded us into the forest for a lovely windy jaunt up and down, past a very green pond/lake.

Then up and down some more before coming out onto a piece of trail we had run in the other direction. It was on this bit of trail I bumped into the leaders heading the other way.

This was quite cool as we were also passing runners from the middle distance run. I love to encourage these guys and it works for some.. others who are obviously hurting just look at me like I am nuts! 

We followed this trail along, then back up into the middle vineyard, made a hard right, round the corner, then up into the upper vineyard and re-traced our earlier steps from the short first lap to the finish.....passing Lainy with the camera and some encouragement and Philip still winding me up over the 'course error' I had at Pukeora. Then as we had only done about 11km, we went and did that loop again.

On the next lap #2 I bumped into Alison Kershaw from BNI who was walking up a storm looking very fresh on the mid distance course.

The second lap, as usual, was harder than the first. However runners just ahead and behind kept me honest. The hammy played up a couple of times, especially on the flat which was annoying. I had thought that I might catch up to Kate, but not this time, she went really well and finished her short-course about 10 minutes ahead of my finish. She did come out and run the last few hundred metres with her old dad tho which is always a highlight!

This was a really cool run, with a lot of variation that kept it interesting. Two lap events are a clever and in some ways cool way to do trails.. you are ready for what is coming the second time around, but you also are aware how tough that hill will be when you do it again. Phil and Louise make a point of changing the courses ever year and there is a nice big hill next door that he is trying to get for next, fun, fun.

For the record I finished in 2:10:27 which is faster than the 2 previous HBTR events, so it probably was a bit easier... but it was a truck load of fun!

 One event left in the HBTR Series and I will miss them... maybe they need to have 6 events... just saying!