Tarawera 2012 Run Ron

In the interest of thrifty-ness I’ve adapted the write up I did for the Heart Foundation for MEC. In case you didn’t know I was fundraising for them as part of the run.


The milestones – over $1100 raised, 100km run over 12hrs. Many thanks for your support everyone!

The all important photo album (aka “pictures or it didn’t happen”). https://plus.google.com/photos/116619355963562886915/albums/5721313116810735857

Not too many action shots of course/scenery, taking pics while running off-road is surprisingly difficult compared to riding (more mentally taxing than technically difficult). All the good shots were taken by Mike’s dad Stuart.

Also the promised telemetry and biometrics. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/158935804

Cardiologists note: the +200bpm max heart rate at 30min was not mine (given my max is 186bpm, 200 would probably not be a good sign). You can, however, see my physical demise occurring at 6hr10min as the heart rate slowly slides down.

This 6hr marker of heart rate decline also correlated nicely with perceived physical and real mental deterioration. Knowing that you are only around halfway and feel ‘less than optimal’ (ie. pretty busted) is something that you do have to prepare yourself for, apparently it’s what ultra’s are all about.

Fascinating also was the variety of runners, old, young, male, female, gazelles, buffalos, all sorts of people come trotting past after 70km. I found no excuse not to finish watching these people in awe.

I did, though, learn some things after my first ultra.

  1. Don’t get overwhelmed by the selection of food at the aid stations and bypass feeding for the first 40km (I took a solitary jelly bean at the first station, and not much more at the following two)
  2. Don’t be tempted to gaze at the stunning scenery too long whilst running lest you kick a rock, hard, and hurt yourself
  3. Don’t try to chase your friend down at the 5hr mark because you originally lost him thinking he was taking a toilet stop
  4. A good pacer over the last 30km is worth their weight in watermelon, I had Pete Watson who was brilliant (though would have preferred an ED Specialist)
  5. Never look broken when your family is around

Was terrific to have my family and friends there supporting and running with (and ahead of) me. Sharing the joy of an active life, as the kids faces attest, is beyond reward.

Despite the 12hr effort, I came through pretty unscathed, rock kicking aside, and not too far off schedule (as naive as it was). The choice of VFF ‘barefoot’ style shoe was interesting as well, no ligament, muscle or sole issue. The only drawback I can think of with them is they are not quite as quick as some off-road race shoes (they’re about form over pace).



MEC Addition – on the topic of predictions and race plan.

I guess 12hrs wasn’t so far off on my prediction (only ~10% over), and Mike was bang on.

To my credit I did predict it was unlikely I would be able to follow my race plan. Is likely I was running a bit quick on the early bits (heart rate was in a place it shouldn’t have been), but I think where I really fell over was on the feeding side of things. I was feeling worse at about the 60km mark than I did at the end of the Huia69, trying to get back on top of hunger while running is not so easy.

A final note, I seem to be  a little too social at the aid stops, met plenty of nice people but it does have a bit of a negative impact on your time. According to the Garmin I spent around 52minutes at aid stations (I was feeding at some, and probably avoiding running at others).

Oh yeah, and it seems I broke my little toe somewhere about the 50km mark.


2 thoughts on “Tarawera 2012 Run Ron

  1. Good stuff Ron. As I mentioned in my post, the 75 minutes we ran together were a real highlight for me. It was great seeing your family get into the day as well. Your comment on not letting them see you broken – did that happen? You always seemed so positive when I saw you (and my photographer concurrs). I think you are bang on about the food. I was meticulous in making sure I ate when I meant to (something new for me), and Im sure that helped keep the fatigue at bay. Did you really chase after Humphries? I wasn’t running that fast…

  2. That’s what ‘life events’ are all about ;), personal achievement mixed in with social interaction. The company from fellow runners, supporters, and volunteers was a highlight for sure.

    On the broken bit, well I did break my toe, and body wasn’t feeling too good at times. Put this way, in ordinary circumstances I probably would be lying down. Not sure if I was broken or not, everyone hurts over 100km right?

    The persistent smile bit is a hang-over from cycling. Like sharks, if you show hurt others are more likely to attack, so you hide any suffering. It also can be used in the offensive – ‘I’m not hurting, this is easy, I’m going to ride off now, don’t even think of following if you are grimacing’.

    Funny thing is now I think the smile is a conditioned response, and smiling automatically makes you feel better, so it’s a great feedback loop to the hurt.

    Vow to improve my feeding next year, and yes I gave a brief chase from Humphries (I was there nearly 10min), but gave up once it was evident it was pointless (and damaging).

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