As the race gets closer (how is it March already??!!) I find myself dreaming and having nightmares about the race more and more.
And at the weekend I imagined this: Tearing off down Pipeline Track, the noise and hubbub of the startline having vanished many footfalls ago, I realise I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve been too busy thinking about the fact that it’s Pi Day and in the process I’ve left behind my awesome-as UltrAspire racing vest and water bottles. Arghghghghgh!
Ok, that seems like a bit of a bizarre nightmare, I hear you say. Fair enough. But bear with me and I’ll explain.
Last Saturday, I took a recce on leg one of the race course, Arataki-Huia, with my friend and fellow 80km race entrant, Shaun Cooper.
As well as being a super-talented ultra-marathoner, Shaun is a super-bright maths whiz. More on that later.
We were trying out the course because we wanted to check out the detour that the race will have to take this year because of an enormous slip on the dam road. We’d run our own detour a few months ago but hadn’t been on the official one that we’ll follow on race day, so it was a good chance to check out our esteemed race director’s instructions. For instance, did his description of an “awesome downhill towards Huia” really stack up? Or was it going to be an ankle-twisting, quad-busting super-technical single-track like I suspected it would be? Turns out, he’s right – it is an awesome downhill!
Anyway, I digress. The run was great, and, while it is a bit longer than the usual track to Huia (by about 15-20 minutes at our pace, we figured) it was super-fun and we’re looking forward to it on race day.
The other reason for running that course was to test-drive my new ZYGOS race vest and Isometric bottles very kindly sent to me by UltrAspire as part of the deal for being a Hillary UltrAspirer.
And here’s the reason for me having a nightmare that I’d set off without my vest: it’s so friggin light! Even with the reservoir full, UltrAspire has weighed the ZYGOS in at 430g.
I’ve worn an UltrAspire race vest for years and while I loved it (and still do), there were some serious upgrades on this latest version. For starters, the attachment system is so easy. While previous vests have used straps (which, no matter how tight you pull them, seem to always slowly slip and become loose as a run goes on), the ZYGOS has a boot hook-type system. So once you’ve adjusted it, bang, that’s it.
Then there’s the pockets which wrap around your hips. This was new for me, and, frankly, a break-through. Being able to stack extra food and other essentials in there for easy access on race-day is superb and will save having to stop to dig around in the main compartment. Speaking of which…the main compartment has a cool little zipper pocket to store things like keys, and plenty of room for our compulsory items on race day.
In the front, there are two mesh pockets for holding bottles. On Saturday, I used the 450ml and 225ml Human Ergo bottles which, although they’re designed to be hand-held (with the super-comfortable – and removeable – mesh sleeves) easily fitted in the ZYGOS’s front pockets. And there they stayed, without me noticing them.
So, with it’s lightweight design that wraps around you, you can see why I’d contrived a nightmare scenario where I’d headed off without it, right?
Why the nightmare about Pi Day, I hear you ask?
Well, during the run, my friend Shaun the maths genius pointed out to me that, if you use the American way of writing down the date, race day will be 3.14 (March 14) – and you all know what 3.14 is, right? Oh, come on people? Anyone? Yes! It’s Pi, the mathematical constant.
Hence, race day is known to mathematicians like Shaun as Pi Day. But wait, there’s more. I’ll leave it to Shaun to explain: “At just after 9 in the morning, the date and time will be 3 14 15 9 26 53. I can think of no better way to spend Pi Day and am hoping to enjoy a nice view of Whatipu at around that time!”
I hope he is enjoying that view too. Shaun has been a great running companion and training mate and I can think of no one I’d rather wish a happier Pi Day.
So long as in my eagerness to wish him happy Pi Day I don’t forget to put on my UltrAspire race vest.