I had planned to dedicate part of this blog to the track condition for the start of the 16km and so I have to admit at this point that I had a training fail on the weekend. My plan on Saturday was to do a training run from Bethells and largely as a result of extremely poor time management this didn’t happen – although I did actually make it to Bethells Beach. Here’s a tip for young players though – Bethells will take you epically longer to reach than you think so allow plenty of time on the day to get there.
I did however have an awesome training run earlier in the week. I stayed at a venue in the Waitakere Ranges for a work conference and took the opportunity to do a mixed trail run/road run in the hilly conditions. In total the run was about 12km of which I would say half was up hill. I was that guy at the conference who got up early to go for a run. I openly invited any other takers of which there were two, I didn’t drink the night before at the conference function and at 5:40am we set out to park at the base of Exhibition drive and start our run back to the venue. Absolutely perfectly well thought out plan – except for the fact that it was still dark. Dark is not normally a problem unless you didn’t think to bring a torch… but we’ll call that a minor detail. Needless to say the first half of the run was pretty slow.
By way of setting into this ramble that is my thoughts I would start by saying that the gear you use will either be designed for purpose or not. If you’re anything like me and this is your first trail run then you don’t have any epic armoury of this really cool gear that is designed for trail running and will make the run that much better. Don’t panic!
By way of providing an example of gear that is designed for purpose and gear that isn’t I’ve been super lucky to have been given a Titan bag from the super good people at UltrAspire and the difference between running in this and any other bag is massive. If the truth be told I can’t actually believe how much of a difference some of the features make. The harness is designed to hold the bag firmly to the body so that it doesn’t move around yet it has elastic in places to allow you to breathe when you are huffing and puffing. It is super light-weight and has pockets in all the right places on the front of the harness to store a quick snack or some extra water that can be accessed without stopping. The material is designed to breathe so you don’t get that horrible feeling of sweat trapped in your back and it looks the business!
Is there a case for procuring purpose built gear? Absolutely!
At this point we have one more weekend before the event. My plan for the last couple of weeks has been to use all of the gear I am taking as much as possible. I don’t need to be using a bag for my training runs but I am. I want to make sure that I’m used to and comfortable running with it (full) so that it is natural on the day. At the very least I’m testing running in all of the other gear that I’m planning on using.
The other thing that I really want to test is how I am planning on carrying everything. There is a reasonable list of required gear on the website from raincoats to first-aid kits to survival blankets. I’m making sure that the way I pack it is comfortable to run with and nothing is sticking into my back, that it all fits in my bag and that I can get to what I need to easily. The Titan pack is perfect for this as it is so much roomier than expected and with all the different pockets I can sort my gear into places that I can access easily.
All that said though, I was recently talking to an Ironman who had just spent $10k on a new bike. He was telling me about a discussion he had with his coach on the bike purchase and the key piece of advice that his coach gave him – “A new bike won’t make you go faster; it’s still the man that pushes the bike”.
I know that this isn’t an ironman (although the 90km event is probably not a dissimilar challenge) but I think the point is still the same. At the end of the day no matter what gear I am using it is me that both mentally and physically takes every step and pushes to the end of the race. Having the UltrAspire gear will make pushing each step to the end of the event infinitely easier. Thanks UltrAspire!
So this week I am going to make attempt two at checking out the trail. I had planned to look at the end of the track and Muriwai this weekend but I think it’s the Bethells end that will be more challenging so I’ll probably head back that way for take two – allowing a bit more time than last week. And I’ll certainly be using my new gear.