As a first post by our UltrAspire Hillary Aspirers we asked why? What motivated them to enter the Hillary??
Below are Kat Reynolds’ thoughts on why she entered Hillary this year and what she aims to get out of it….
My older brother has always been quite an influence for me when it comes to finding cool events, many of the races I do are down to his recommendation and last year the Hillary was no exception. I think I entered about four days before race day last year, it wasn’t really something I had planned to do. I thought that coming off running the 34km Coast to Coast mountain run a month before and the 33km Coastal challenge two weeks ago that I would be in fine form to run another 30km+ race and that is where I made my first mistake. I am still a relative newbie to distance races which means that I am still getting my head around nutrition and race strategy so I make sure that I learn things from racing. Sure, I use my long training runs to try out new foods, different nutrition and hydration strategies as well as pushing myself with distance but it’s so difficult to replicate race conditions in a training run. I learnt so much running the Hillary last year and I am hoping I can take these learnings into this years race and improve my time.
The first thing I learnt was that running three 30km+ races in six weeks is probably not the brightest idea – I think I was more fatigued than I realised going into Hillary and I hit the wall much sooner that I was expecting to, making the last 10km or so of the race pretty miserable. Second learning – drink drink drink! My performance was hugely compromised because I forgot to use the 2L of water I was carrying on my back and by the time I realised just how thirsty I was the damage had been done and no amount of water was going to help. It was an absolute scorcher of a day too which only made hydration even more important – to be honest I have my fingers crossed for an overcast race day this year. In a similar vein – eat eat eat! I was still getting my head around what worked best for me in terms of food and this is such a subjective thing so following everyone else’s advice isn’t always the best move. I don’t handle gels very well, my stomach just doesn’t like them so I have to eat actual food to keep me going and in this race I just don’t think I ate enough of the right thing at the right time. I also discovered that running with other people helps, a lot. Running in a train of people can help keep your pace consistent and I always find it strangely comforting to know that there’s other people hurting with me. The final thing I learnt was do not underestimate this race, 34km on the road is one thing but 34km in the Waitakeres is a whole different ball game!
My overall aim for this race is pretty simple, I want to go under a time of four hours. I finished in 4:08 last year and my split for the second half of the race (Bethells to Muriwai) was about 30 minutes longer than for the first half so I know that this is where I can really pull out some time. Doing a race like this for the second time offers me the chance to take everything that I have learnt racing over the last year and put it into practice. My race preparation is quite different this year when compared to last year, this is my first race of the season and I should be going into the race pretty fresh!