Tarawera 2013 Predictions – Better than NIWA’s Long Range Forecasts

Or Ken Ring for that matter…

On predictions: As per 2012 I overestimated Mike’s finishing time and underestimated mine. Still two data points don’t make a pattern (and as Pastafarian’s state, the decline in seafaring pirates doesn’t cause global warming even though they are correlated). I did, however, as stated take more photos (~50), finish far more coherent in one piece, and spend considerably less time at aid stations.

On execution: It was a simple plan really, start steady, meter exertion, and refuel frequently. First 50km went exactly to plan, was within minutes of split times given to support crew, and feeling strong, ready to push the difficult second half. Then soon after seeing Mike/Todd a few clicks after their turnaround the wheels fell off in spectacular fashion.

On reality: taking the wheels off one by one

  1. First up was the rolled ankle after a 60km eventer decided he owned the trail, I walked off the pain and was able to run comfortably enough on the easy trail though had to back off somewhat on technical bits
  2. Following up on this came the stomach cramps, a first in an event for me. Unclear what brought this on, but meant intensity dropped, downhills were uncomfortable, and stops/walking were frequent
  3. The obvious chaser to the stomach cramps were the multiple ‘nature stops’ (luckily I packed toilet paper). This is bad enough, but on that part of the course the ability to get well away from the trail and waterways is not always possible as you are running between cliffs and the lake. One section in particular required a judicious mix of running (quicker but potentially dangerous) and walking (slower to get to where I needed to be)
  4. Then came the chafing, which just added to the fun

The net effect of all this was that my stride was curtailed, downhilling/technical impaired, ability to feed limited, and I couldn’t get any intensity back. In short, despite the legs and lungs feeling good, I felt crippled. Twice after the turnaround I had mentally withdrawn from the 100km and was intending on finishing at the 85km point. Then I guess I sucked it up, thought about the commitment I’d made, my supporters had made, and the fact my pacer had driven down on a difficult schedule to run me through the last section (the bonus for him being that it wasn’t the rather less scenic forestry end of the field).

As it turned out the final section with my pacer Pete, was rather better than the previous 30km. It wasn’t quick, I wouldn’t call it comfortable, but it was actually enjoyable. Pete had obviously been studying approaches to pacing and combined it with his deep knowledge of my persona. His technique being chatting amiably whilst keeping 10m in front of me so I’d be constantly trying to catch him.

In the end I finished in 13:16hrs, a clean hour more than my anticipated time. Was actually surprised how little time I lost out there as it felt like I was haemorrhaging the stuff.

On the day after: I could walk dammit! Even up and down stairs I didn’t have any difficulty on. The following Monday was good too. Clearly a sign I left too much out there.

On the future: 2014 I’m gonna say screw any finish time considerations, I want a clean event. Someone remind me in March.

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