Sunday, May 2, 2010

T42 Race Report

We travelled down to Taumarunui the night before the race where I deposited Ebs and the Girls at Mum ands dad's house before heading out to National Park for registration with Mr 6. It was after 8pm by the time I got out there and the entrance way was awash with foam from the Biosecurity guys cleaning all the mountain bikes for didymo.

Got through gear check ok (after nearly spilling scroggin over the table) and collected race number, transponder and race pack and headed back out into the icy air for the drive back down to Taumarunui.

When home i packed and repacked my gear then finally figured it would actually all fit in the camelbak anyway so was pretty happy with the smaller size. Went to bed after gorging on penne pasta a very nervous boy. Tomorrow would be my first trail run and I didn't know if I was ready for it.

Woke earlyish and wolfed down toast and bananas and started hydrating. Got changed into my race gear an hour before we had to leave and applied plasters and vaseline etc nice and early. Race day kit comprised of running tights, shorts, thermal full length base shirt, t shirt and cap as well as full fingered gloves. In my camelbak was first aid kit, survival blanket, water, energy bars, scroggin, jacket and a spare polypropylene shirt. We were told that we wouldn't be able to start without the required gear so I did a double check to make sure I had everything.

Headed out to the Owhango domain with Ebs and kids to the start line and was there early enough to get nervous. Stretched and did warm up and listened to safety briefing.

At 9:30 we were in the starting corrall and the race horn started and we were off. Out of the domain and left up into the ohinetonga track. A beautiful part of bush with nice wide tracks. The weather was overcast and cold and damp underfoot but some sun peeking through. Great conditions for running. Over the crest of the first hill and i took off my gloves and settled in to the rhythm of hill running. Passed a few people as everyone settled into their race pace. 3 kms in and we left the bush and turned past the first aid station on to a gravel road. This started to climb quite steeply and it wasn't long until the running was interspersed with bursts of walking for the steeper sections. At the 6.7km mark we turned right up a very steep clay and stone track which prevented much running. The scenery was spectacular as we were getting quite high by this point and I saw several runners stopped and looking at the view down across the rolling valleys of the King Country which was a glowing green with the overnight rain. At that point I wished I had brought my camera.

At the top of the track we passed the third aid station and headed in to the "loop". This was a section of rugged bush overgrown with cutty grass and the tracks were rudimentary and almost entirely wet slippery clay./ They had told us earlier that we would struggle in normal running shoes but there really was no turning back at that point so I proceeded to the first clay downhill and immediately fell over. Clay, rain and low grip road shoes make for a very bad combination in the bush. Picking myself up I managed to navigate the next 8kms of clay track through the bush with minimal injury. My hands and face were bleeding by the time I got out from superficial scratches and I was soaked as it had also rained for about 30 minutes of that section. The puddles were sometimes knee deep and so not a lot of running was done for any period of time, it was more a case of trying to navigate a line through the many hazards and getting out to the gravel road which we knew would be someway in the distance. Ended up running with a group which was about the same pace and we kept a good rhythm going for the most part. Was nice to be running with people at that point because it is very rough and remote country up in those hills.

We finally popped out at the aid station we had passed earlier and this indicated the end of the loop. I was VERY happy to see the guy handing out sports drink there, grabbed some hydration and headed off for the 7km run home. I did notice that my left ankle was starting to hurt on the downhill run home and put this down to the constant slipping and correcting in the bush. I ran through the pain and it seemed to settle after a while but at one stage I thought I was going to have to stop.

Turned back into the domain just before 3 hours 20 and the kids were there to Hi 5 me as I came through and family there at the finish line is always a very cool thing. my sister, who was supposed to run it with me but had to pull out due to a broken ankle, was also there and was awesome that she made the effort to drive all the way to support me.

Over the finish line in 3 hrs 20 (I think) and was so happy to be done. I was soaked, sore and extremely muddy...but I had finished the longest race of my running career (24km) and it was over some of the roughest terrain I have been over...and I LOVED it...

so next year, the plan is to run the 42km marathon distance...and next year I will definitely be in trail shoes.

by the way...i don't think a spa has ever felt as good as it did that afternoon

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