What was it?
Was it just a “off” day? Did I screw up nutrition? Am I just not “Mentally” tough enough? Was there some bug that was hanging around and just caught me on a off day?
No matter what the run was like, my recovery straight after was not normal… even for a almost 5hr expedition. My legs were cramping, I was rugged up to the nth degree, if I moved to get something to eat or go too the loo. I was shaking uncontrollably. I could barely eat anything, though I forced in my throat. The Kepler, while I couldn’t move my legs hadn’t even effected me to that degree, well the cramps had been worse, but that was to be expected, that took over twice the time so don’t doubt that one.
Ok so I am starting at the end again. Let me go back to the beginning. As you can probably tell I did not have a very good race, actually I didn’t have a very good experience, I did conclude a couple of times along the way, that in no way was this fun, and not to do anything like that again. Oh skipping ahead once again.
I’ll go back to Friday.
Isn’t Nelson supposed to be the sun capital of the country?
So I left a sunny warm Christchurch to land in a rainy dismissal Nelson. I was actually to find out later that I was lucky we landed. A couple of people at the race had circled for ages, returned back to Chch and then had to drive all the way up, only arriving at 12:30 that night. Yes, I was very lucky that the flight landed and I had no dramas.
I went and got my ankle strapped at a physio. I know should learn to do it myself, but I always seem to pull it too tight inone spot or never get it straight. I did umm and ahh over the strapping. I don’t train with strapping, thus I shouldn’t race with it, I know! But I had a couple of good reasons for doing so, 1 Don’t want to screw my ankle up again, I got more important plans. 2 It would give me way more confidence on the trail knowing I didn’t have to avoid every bump and root (and I am so glad I did, I was flying down the trails, when if I didn’t have the strapping I’d have been walking slowly)
I had a few plans to ticky tour my way up to Marahau. But as it was pissing down with rain, that wasn’t really going to happen. So I stopped off at the supermarket, picked up some food and continued straight up. So I arrived about 12 and not much to do. I whiled away my time checking out the finish, reading my book and taking off on a short 20min run.
Went to bed fairly early. The strapping must have been pushing on a nerve when my foot was pointed, because a couple of times that night I woke up in unbelievable pain. Flex the foot and it went away.
So I am trying to work out exactly what went wrong as I write this, maybe as I write a stunning thought may occur to me (I’ll let you know when if it does), so this might be rather analytical. Sometimes are rather approx
6:30. Alarm goes. Get my gear on and visit the facilities etc etc
6:45 Eat breakfast. Breakfast includes a banana and a bagel with Jam (I know not very exciting, but my standard race morning fare, stops stomach upsets further in the day)
7:15 Ready to go, time to kill, read book a bit more
7:30 Go to registration. Registration line is long and hang around for ages. Finally when I get to the front, they say “Oh you’re a medical”, go over there. So off I go and stand in another line. Jeez, Its only asthma, its not like the great plaque or anything. “You carry medication?”, “Yes inhaler”, “Ventolin”, “Yes”, “You carry that with you?” “Yes”. She writes that on a piece of paper. Never had that before, at least they are through.
8:00 make my way to the boat ramp. The tide is out so we have walk about 500m across the beach (shoes off) to get to the boats. Then wade in the icy ocean to get up the ramp, just as I get to the ramp a big wave comes and soaks my shorts grr.
9:00 Have made our way to Arrowa. The boat ride was a bit rough, but didn’t feel ill at all, until we stopped. Then I felt decidedly sick, My stomach started to roil. I just ignored it. Got off the boat. We had to get our feet wet again. I debated weather to leave the shoes on, and just get them wet.
Sand could cause a issue, but everyone else was taking there shos off, so I decided to be a sheep and follow the pack. So yes there was sand issues. I couldn’t get all the sand off, and just cross fingers that wouldn’t cause blisters. Its raining here but not to cold
9:15 Eat banana
9:45 they line us up for bag checking, then walk around to the start. I feel decidedly disorientated, I don’t know where the ocean is. Its really odd for me not to know what direction everything is. We are waiting…
10:15 Briefing… By this point I am starting to get worried about my nutrition. I had decided to go as light as possible. Picking up the nutrition along the way. The info they had provide us was the race would start about 9 – 9:30. I had based my nutrition around that and was already starting to feel hungry. I decided it best to eat some of my little nutrition now and hope I can get enough later. So eat half a muslei bar.
Then they do yet another head count.
10:30 At last the race starts.
Stage 1 was it too hard? Don’t think so
Stage one was approx 6K’s. Plan was to take it easy and do in approx 40min
So there was the traditional start to any race, people taking off at a big rate of knots. I tell myself to behave and try and settle into a easy rythmn. We cross a small river about 1K in… so that keeping the feet dry at the boats a complete waste of time. Then we come to a abrupt stop as theres a bottle neck at some steps. We start climbing up the first hill of the day, I am actually feeling pretty good, I am taking it at a good steady pace. I hear guys huffing and puffing as they over take me. I just shake my head and silently wish them luck for the rest of the race.
After about 20min we start to head back down again, the track was pretty good, a bit rough in places, not helped by being to close to the person in front. So I hang back a little so I can see what is happening. Not much time later we hit the beach.
Gord, that was hard, it was about a 1K run along the beach, and it places it was hard to find a firm be of sand to run on. I hit the CP at about 45min. Off pace, but terrain is more hilly then I had predicted, so that’s ok.
Stage 2 start to pick it up?
Stage 2 was approx another 6K. The plan was to pick the pace up a bit. I decided that I didn’t think that would work so kept the same pace as before.
We start climbing again. I had picked up some water at the CP, and was carrying some in my bladder, but was starting to feel dehydrated. I took on more water hoping it would help, but didn’t seem to. I had some raspberry licource to eat for this stage, I swallowed down a couple of sticks.
I started to feel weary and was getting negative thoughts in my head. I was wondering where the heck they had come from. My legs despite everything else I was feeling was still feeling good.
I got to the next CP and it was 1:40. I was way of pace. Told myself not to worry, couldn’t trust the distances anyway. I filled the water bottle I was carrying up, and was a relief to drink the cold water down. Grabbed a banana and handful of Jelly Beans
Stage 3 Slip and slide
Stage 3 was approx 9K to Torrent Bay.
Once again we climbed out of the bay where the CP was. The track was a absolute mess. I wished to god I had bought the trail shoes. The road shoes were giving no grip. It was a muddy clay quadmire and the 250 odd people before me had made it a terrible mess. The problem with being a tail ender, You get stuck with the raw end of the trail.
So with this slope you seemed to be going up and sliding down half, not going anywhere fast, and impossible to run. By the top of the hill, I had to take a few deep breaths to prevent the food I had eaten coming up again.
It was down hill form there and started to feel better, though I was still in a negative frame of mind. I was al most going to give up. I got to the point of saying, the next CP, just stop and ask for a lift back. I was not enjoying this at all, and the negativeness just kept creeping in and getting worse.
But suddenly I was at Torrent Bay, it had come way quicker than 9K. The time was 2:30. Shite that’s a half marathon done, and while a slow one at the best of times, I was still feeling ok (right I see you seeing the contradictions from the last paragraph) 15K’s left to go, if I can do that in 90min, 4hrs done and dusted. Woo hoo lets go!
Stage 4 When the enthusiasm doesn’t last.
At the CP filled up the water bottle and got jelly beans and banana.
So obviously the plan of getting a getting a lift out was dashed. Thank god for small mercies. But there was 15K to go and no way was I doing that in 90min in my state and terrain. I think I always overestimate my abilities and think I can do in that time when really I can’t. Then I get half way there, realise I can’t do it and almost give it up.
Anyway there was a bit of flat to start with, my legs where feeling knackered and my head space was not in much better shape. Actually it was worse. When it started going up I walked. Then it went flat and it just kept on going. We were following a hill around the shore line, constantly hoping that the next time you rounded the corner you’d see marahau. You saw the 12K marker, than 10K. I was feeling really sick at this stage, I kept on downing my water, like it was, well water. Never did seemed to get better. At one point I said that’s it, you have to walk this off. So I did for 5min I walked and I thought I started to feel better. So I started up running again and I did pick up for a bit, I picked off the people had passed me and was going ok for a while. But the string snapped and the ghost gave up. I almost collapsed on the track sobbing.
What the heck was wrong with me! Why can’t I keep going. My mind kept on drifting back to the last 10K of Kepler. Now that was hard! This was a pathetic little nothing 7K’s to go. Get your head back in the game! But nope nothing, started to run low on water and was still forcing the food down, but probably not enough.
I walked stumbled my way to the finish line. 4:54. Yes that 2hrs24 to run/walk that last 15K. Go figure!
Nothing much achieved there. I crawled my way back to the cabin and suffered the chills and muscles cramps and collapsed in a miserable sleep
What have I learned
Not much as I really don’t know what went wrong. Here are the only things I think I could have got better.
- I think I needed more water in the first couple of stages
- I didn’t eat enough food. My plan was to go in with a limited amount and pick up at CP but the CP weren’t as useful to those on the Kepler.