This was my first event since Laura and I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I was a little worried that the lack of carbs in the diet would mess up my endurance and whatever speed I have. I've also been really dehydrated recently even while drinking bottles of water during the day. I've put it down to the reduction of carbs and the ability for the body to hold onto water. This was also a worry for the race as I didn't want to be dehydrated, especially seeing the weather forecast of 23 degree sunshine.
I made the pact with Laura that I would support her in the diet and follow it with her but I had to be able to eat/drink what I needed to on race and big training days. So for breakfast this morning, after weeks of no coffee, bread and processed sugar I had three slices of jam on toast and 2 cups of coffee. I was buzzing! I also drank lots of water and felt good going into the race.
My original plan was to do a 100k+ ride yesterday (Saturday) and then follow it with the 15k trail run today. (Un)Fortunately I had to go into work yesterday and that combined with the fact that we lost Laura's passport (needed it to continue with hospital treatment or they were going to charge her as a non-resident) and so we had to turn the whole house upside down, meant that I didn't get out to ride. I think that was a good thing in terms of having an easier run today but not good as a preparation for running off the bike in Rotorua. (we found the passport btw - phew!)
The race started at 9:45am so it was a leisurely morning having that carb loaded breakfast and shots of caffeine watching the teams around West ham slip up and open the way for us to move into 5th spot if win tomorrow morning. None of this 'get up at 3:30am to get everything ready for a tri' stuff.
Race stuff on, drive to the start and run. Simple.
The race plan was to do a 4:1 run:walk but as soon as we hit the 'bush' it was obvious I wouldn't be able to stop running as the trails for the most part were only a metre or so wide. Anyway, I felt great and so decided to run the whole thing. My legs were fresh and I was full of caffeine. What could possibly go wrong? :)
The climbs were very steep but I managed to run them all and not get passed like usual. I felt strongish and I didn't get the dead feeling in my legs. I wasn't running fast up them but I wasn't dying either (which is the normal case for me). The other good thing was that I seemed to recover much better at the top of the climbs and was able to push on at a decent pace instead of my normal routine of recovering at the top and taking ages before I'm able to get back in a rhythm. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the loss of weight and the new diet. Much easier to drag 181 pounds of bulk up a hill without the extra 13 or 14 pounds that I carried up until recently.
I was able to consistently catch and pass people right up to the end of the race. This might have a lot to do with the fact that I started right at the back but that's mere detail. A lot of people went off very fast and came back quickly.
One person that I set out to catch was way off in the distance took me about 5k to catch. We talked for a bit and stayed together but on one of the suicidal downhills I had no control of my legs and just went with the speed they were going and I went in front of her. My Garmin says a Sub 2 min per K (not sure how accurate that is but it was scary fast - like going downhill on a bike thinking if I crash now I'm dead!). She caught me up a bit later and we ran together from about the 2k to go mark. As we got near the finish she put in a burst of speed and went past me with all her family cheering. I just kept with her and in the final straight went past to take the Gold ... erm I mean take the sprint win ... felt like Gomez at Auckland. I turned round at the finish and apologised. Was I a douchebag? (Hit a HR of 176 in the sprint)
I finished in 1:28 something which is round about a 6 min/k pace. My goal for the run:walk was under 100 minutes (for no reason whatsoever) so I was very pleased with this time. It was the first race that I have finished and thought that I would like to go round again. I would have had to walk loads of the hills but I felt physically and mentally OK to go again. Maybe next year. I'll definitely be back. It was a great event!
Best bit I suppose was the fact that my calfs didn't complain at all. I'm sure the soft(er) surfaces helped. Not so sure about the 'river' crossings though. Very slippery (really?). Just glad that is hadn't rained much recently. I've said it a million times before but I think I have cracked the curse of the calf. (cue calf strain next week!) ... I'm concentrating on a mid foot right hand edge landing (on my right foot). It doesn't pull the calf like a forefoot landing and doesn't have as much braking effect as a heal strike. It seems to work and I'm able to go more forefoot striking on the uphills which makes them slightly easier.
So ... running is going well and I'm feeling strong(ish) on the bike. Now, if only I was swimming ... in the open water or even in the pool. Swim training re-starts TOMORROW. Definitely, definitely, definitely doing the swim in Pilot Bay on Thursday.
Only three weeks till Rotorua. I'm only going to do a mini 1 week taper for Rotorua so plan is for two more weeks of 'solid' training. That's the plan anyway :) Bring it on ...
*Update* ... I came 44th out of 177 in the 15k and was 13th out of 39 in the M40+. Very happy with those results.