This by far was the toughest Race I have done so far, it busted my balls to the max!
Here we go…
Woke at 5 in the dirty am! For the last 2 weeks no matter how late I go to bed, still up at 5am! Garr!
I got up and out of bed at 5.30am because I would end up wriggling about in there and waking up the hubby. Chucked on some compression pants and a top and headed out the back door to do some yoga. Yoga Practice for Runners – Refreshing!
With my legs all limber I got kitted up and started organising my house for departure. We would have to leave early to get my children to the Nanny’s house and then make the trip out to the TECT Park.
It was around 13 degrees outside, I was hoping that it would be overcast today, or even occasional showers. No such luck for me Yesterday.
Anywho, I was hydrated and had all Tec gear on so I felt light and cool. Feet felt good, legs felt good! I had gone number two’s too – It was all down hill from here!
Breakfast was a PB and Banana Bagel. Pre-race night I chugged a bit of an electrolyte bevey and a wee bit more in the morning on waking. I packed my Honey Stinger’s, more water for afters, camera batteries charged. Ready to go!
By the time we left the house just after 8am, the sun was already high in the sky, I was hoping to god that the heat wouldn’t kill me! I don’t think god was listening – probably out saving someones life or something…?
Arrived at the TECT park, the total entries were about 560+. A perfect amount for the park I think. The 10k and 30k had already started, we had about 40 minutes till our race start (9.30am).
Sunscreened up my shoulders and back, I didn’t worry too much about my face, I am not fair skinned so I don’t burn easily, I just know that last week my Buffalo girl run resulted in some stingy afterglow!
Racer back tan!!
Headed down to the start line 5 mins before Start time for briefing, the first of the 30k’ers would past by starting their second lap of the 15. These guys and girls – total machines! I made sure while I was out being past by them that I cheered them on, they were running long! Inspirational!
I had positioned myself about at the mid mark of the pack, so just at the back of all the runners, and in front of all the walkers, the run wasn’t timed chipped but because there were only about 100 odd it wasn’t too much of a big deal to get past the start line.
Start siren sounded and the pack moved quicker than I thought it would, this was ok, I had planned to go at my own pace. I knew full well that I had to use the first k for my warm up. My warm up included the first of many steep road hills and a dirt track small hill complete with plenty of switch backs. The small dirt track was very narrow and proved to be a bit of an annoyance as the beginning of any race will be the filtering of fast and the not so fast – this narrow track didn’t help with that as I ended up walking the majority of it following like sheep the long line of people.
The second k was easier to maneuver around people, but by then we had found a good spot among the other runners and pretty much kept this spot the whole way through. We ran through the wide open 4WD track leading to the first aid station at the 3km mark nestled nicely under the last lot of pines before an open space of trail that bordered along a gravel road. I didn’t have any water here, my dad made sure to chat to every volunteer and because he would run ahead most of the time, he would park up and wait for my friend Amy and I to catch up. He spent a great deal of time admiring the scenery haha!
The electrolyte beverage at this event was R-Line.
Once reaching the top of the gravel road we continued onto the Buffalo girl. About a half k worth of gradual downhill and slight uphill before going down again over a small stream meeting up with the next uphill that would continue for the next 3km or so.
I ran my nike app which was about 1.7km out in terms of GPS, but it was a good guide for me especially when it came to taking nutrition.
Through the larger stream and then continuing up the gradual hill mostly tree covered which provided some nice relief from the sun. 4 km sounded which at that point my GPS was almost accurate. Because we were still experiencing the uphill I decided to slowly gnaw away at my first honey stinger (at 45 mins, then another 45 mins later). I had done one long trail run with these and they worked well. The only concern I had was that they get warm and melty if kept in my tech short pocket, still edible though, I will try out one of their gels to see what they are like on my next long run.
At the beginning of this hill I had a slight niggle around the Achilles/calf area. By the time I was done with the hill this niggle had gone. I am glad I played this day safe!
We make it to the almost top of the hill where the tree lining of the trail stopped, here we encountered some more steeper uphill but on gravel road. I made sure to stay super careful on this road, the stones were big and I didn’t want to roll my ankle. Approaching the last little bit of this hill I see my dad right at the top sitting on a tree stump. GOH! I was motioning to him to push on… he wanted to wait. I should have given him a camera – make himself useful ha!
At the top of this hill we were about half way. From here was a beautiful view of the Mount (Mount Maunganui). I wish I had stopped for a picture on my phone, it was worth the long trek up all that hill!
Down hill for about a k or so, lots of switch backs, no trees, more gravel road. My mini pump water bottle was warm but I still continued to sip. We came to the bottom of a steep sealed road hill. I had experienced this hill on my training run. I loathed this hill! But at the top would be a nice aid station waiting for me.
Dad had run up ahead and said he would wait at the top.
We got to the top, dad was helping the volunteers pick up all of the dropped water cups haha! He had time. I had two sips of my water and poured the rest down the back of my neck. BLISS! It dried within 5-10 mins. I didn’t have any electrolyte drink, I was scared it would make me feel ill.
6km to go and we pop back on to the Buffalo girl.
At about 4k out from the Finish I ate my last Honey stinger. On my training run I only had one. I think the second made all the difference for facing the end where there would be a shit load of stairs to battle!
We then pop on to ‘Uno’ – a mountain bike track, this runs for about 600m or so before we meet the small bit of trail that cruises on to Te Rerenga, my first ever trail. I was glad at this point that I knew it like the back of my hand. All the corners and turns, the tunnel and stairs – it was all automatic.
We run through some nice trail leading up to the tunnel where we were met with some marshals that had glow-sticked the path inside the tunnel.
As we meet the first of many stairs I could see that Amy was tiring. We had boosted up the first few flights past a few people where we could and I saw Amy turn pale. I didn’t tell her that she was because I knew she would panic, instead I asked her if she wanted to slow down for a rest or let a few people past. She said no and kept going.
We finally get to up the last lot of stairs and on to a big open space of cut pines. Amy looked fine by then. Many months ago I had run this area and it was my favourite part because it was heavily tree-lined and provided nice cool shelter. Today it almost killed me! No more glorious tree-lined bush! I would have filled my mini pump bottle if I had of known it had been flattened out. Eek!
Amy up ahead
We wogged through this bit, knowing that we were only a k or so out from finish. Dad was talking almost this whole way saying we were doing great and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. At this point I was ready to throttle him… it’s no wonder that I like to hit the trails alone haha!
The last little bit of trail settled among the tall pines. We meet the last lot of marshal’s directing us around a small pond that will end with 20 or so metres of windey trail with Finish line gloriously ahead!
I see Jared waiting with the camera ready to take a pic – it wasn’t a very good one, very blurry and only had just got me in the pic haha, I didn’t really care too much, I was pining for a sit down and a chocolate milk!
We reach the end which was slightly less triumphant that I had imagined, but in my head I told myself “Holy Shit, I just ran 15k over a million freeking hills!! BADASS!!”
I just wanted to sit, and get my shoes off. I had packed a pair of Jandels, they were my savoir!
I experienced one minor blister, on my heel, but that was because my sock had slipped down – note to self: Purchase up-to-the-ankle sport socks! It didn’t bother me, it is a runners life!
My hips were achey, my hammys and glutes were achey. My calves were good, My Freeking Arches were AWESOME!
I left everything I had out on that land and I came away unscathed! Hallelujah!
I finished in at 2.12. This was 12 minutes more that I had hoped for, but there are plenty of things that I can work on to PR this, most of the things are easy seconds that can be made up.
A nice big slice of Bacon and Egg pie, a recovery cup of Chocolate Milk and a semi-decent beer!
We hung around for prize-giving, Two ladies that had been walking the 15k along with my sister and step-mum had left but gave us their tickets to redeem any spot prizes they may have potentially won. As fate would have it they won me a pair of minimalist/barefoot sport socks…. maybe this is a sign to go minimalist?
Overall it was a great day, a great event! I prepared well, and I did well. I will cane it next year, I can feel it with all of my being!
Till we meet again Buffalo Girl!