Routeburn Classic 2010

My body and mind finally felt like it recovered from the NZ Mt running champs a week earlier by the time we rolled into Te Anau on Friday and after a little 15min jog along the lake and the pre race meeting I was ready to go. For some reason the pre race meeting always gets me in the mood to race and the Routeburn pre race talk has the added bonus of being extremely entertaining!

The forecasted rain finally arrived Friday night which added a little bit of  humming and  haring of clothing and shoe choice.  It was pretty warm so I opted for just a long sleeve top and the grippiest pair of shoes (also the lightest) I have to combat the wet, slippery rock – some Inov-8 212 and my 2xu Race socks.

There was light, steady rain as 300+ competitors walked 700m down the Milford highway to where we started the race. I was still not 100% set on my race tactics at this point. With a lack of a real stand out race favorite for this year’s race (I had a quick chat to 2007 winner Jim Hawkeridge and race director Evan McWhirter and both said it was “wide open this year”) I figured I would sit and wait until Howden Hut  at least, confident that someone would start out fast enough that we would hit my desired split and reasses. I cruised into the single track in about 4th, before moving into 2nd and catching up to the “rabbit” just before the key summit turn off. We had a small but significant lead by the time we reached Howden in 21mins, 1min off what I was after. We were making good time for a bit, before I started to worry about the pace slowing. At  Earland Falls I made my move, picking up the pace to make up for what felt like some lost time. The support around here was pretty great from walkers that were going from Lake Mackenzie to Howden. They all jumped off the track giving me heaps of room and support. I rolled into the Mackenzie check point feeling good and about 4mins ahead of time. My goal was for a sub 3hr run and my projected splits I had on my hand was for about a 2hr55min, so I was happy to be early! I started to feel last week’s race in my hamstrings on the climb into the alpine here and power walked a few of the steep sections. I looked back a few times but really struggled to see anyone?!  I tried to push along these legs to Harris Saddle, probably my favorite section of the track. I was able to get a good look back at the stairs below Harris,  nothing but track and I was pretty confident at this point that if I made it down the track down hill in one piece I would have the win. 45mins to Harris Saddle Shelter from Mackenzie and I was still ahead of my projected splits.routeburn10grant_guise2

The view, or lack of view, of Lake Harris was pretty cool, low fog/cloud hanging over the lake. It started to rain pretty good along here, but I managed to move along at a good pace, reaching a marshal less Routeburn Falls check point right on time, despite the base of my heal starting to give me some trouble on the rocky down hill. I somehow injured my heal last week at the Mt running champs and it was starting to remind me that it was still a little tender. By the time I hit the flats I was still moving along, but was feeling myself slow, with my hamstrings getting tighter. Small rocky creek crossing, side walk, toilet, little up hill, hard left turn, bridge, another bridge, long straight, nature walk, LOUD SPEAKER!! Thats what I had been waiting to hear…….

The 2 blokes with mics at the finish were pretty good value and one of them knew my parents quite well, so as I crossed the line these guys already had the dirt on me and even payed me out on my ginger beard! In the end I was pretty pumped on my 2hr53min20sec time. I think that this might be the 3rd fastest time, behind record holder Richard Usser (90sec) and 2009 winner Jacob Roberts (30sec). My folks were at the finish with a change of clothes and I started to warm up while waiting. 5mins, 10mins, 15mins!? I was starting to wonder what was going on and then James Greenslade-Yeats (who has beaten me in the ’08 Flagpole and ’10 Skyline) crossed in 3hrs12mins.

I was all wrapped up drinking some chicken soup, counting down to the 4hr mark. Jane’s goal was for a sub 4hr race. At 3hr45min they announced that the first lady was not far. I didn’t want to get excited, but I knew if Jane was having a good day she could ran sub, or at least near to 3hr50, especially because she had some slick new racing flats. Jane was looking pretty wet and tired when they announced her name as she crossed the bridge and made the final small climb to cross the line. I was was probably more excited than Jane at this point! 3hr47min! Jane was pretty stoked!

Article on 2010 Routeburn Classic HERE

My summer season is pretty much over now and I am gonna call it a success. I have to say a huge thank you to the support that I have had over the summer that has helped with this success. Without doubt Jane is at the top of the list! Then would be my parents for their support this past weekend, an early start, lots of driving and then hanging out in the rain and they were smiling the whole time.  Karen from Fit For Life, Andrew and the Fuel Me team and Holly at Snoworld via Julbo have been great! As have a heap of folks, some I hardly know that have wished me luck for races. And yeah, you too for following along and reading this silly little blog. I know on the big scale of things that what I am doing counts for little, but I set myself a few goals and pretty much nailed every one of them this summer. Your support helped me do this – Thanks!

I’ll post my splits (and maybe Jane’s) later in the week and a link to the results when they are up. For now we are relaxing down in Riverton for a few days!

Routeburn

Wicked sick day at the Routeburn Classic. I came 1st by 17mins!! Run 2hrs53mins which I am stoked with. It got even better- Jane was the 1st woman home in 3hr47!

More to come.

NZ Mt Running Champs

I said in a post earlier this week that I wasn’t gonna take a “back seat” at the 2010 Athletics New Zealand (ANZ) Mountain Running Champs and I guess in the end I didn’t. Rather than taking the back seat in this race I had the piss kicked out of me and was thrown in the back boot………

I’m not sure where I went wrong and just how I came so unstuck on Motueka’s Mt Campbell on Saturday, but I sure did. I think a small underestamtion of the field and a big overestimation of my own fitness and ablity was certainly a factor. A mountain/trail running race such as the Avalanche Peak or Mt Lyford are very, very different beasts to a “mountain running” championship, both in the course and field. Having never done such a race it was very hard to gauge how I would do and what to expect. My olny gauge was oddly at the Mt Lyford 9km race 3 weeks earlier where I beat James Couborough’s course record by over 4mins. James was 4th in last years champs and went on to be NZ’s top finisher at the 2009 World Mt running Champs. I knew my time at Lyford counted for nothing this past Saturday, but that result still gave me a lot of confidence going into the race, maybe too much?

The first 7km of the Mt Campbell course is relativity flat, with a few steep little climbs and I knew the pace here would be quick. In hindsight I went out too hard here, but I wanted to stay in touch with the lead group, which consisted of a group of about 8 of us. This was a good feeling and I was happy with where I was, this feeling didn’t last……. After 10-15 mins I fell off the back as this group split up, as James Couborough lead out Jonathan Wyatt. It was cool to see someone take on the world’s best and have a go. Meanwhile I was falling further and further behind. By the time I reached the steep second half of the course where I felt I would excel, I was pretty far back and mentally out of the race. On the final km’s I was passed and passed again. How and why this was happening  I am unsure. Physically I didn’t feel that bad and mentally I was just confused (more than normal). I crossed the line knowing I had a crap race, but not sure why? I think the whole event got to me, I had hyped it up for sure and then I think got a little overwhelmed pre race and in the early km’s. Hard to admit, but I think I then just checked out of the race. I think I was about 9mins back from Jono and 10th in my grade (open men), out of 10. Then there were a few masters/vets and some unattached guys that all handed it to me.

Writing that down certainly helps, as I have to get my head right back into the game- Routeburn in less than a week! I got 6th last year in this race running 3hr12min. I did a training run over it in January in 3hr04mins and fell like I can squeeze a little more time out of it yet.

In Motueka

Hanging out in Motueka today in preparation for tomorrows NZ mountain running champs. I arrived yesterday afternoon after and long, wet and windy drive from Castle Hill. I drove over the first 7km of the course yesterday and then run an easy 20mins up from the locked gate half way up  Rocky Road, on Mt Campbell. The road up Mt Campbell is very similar in condition to a ski field road, with the first 7km being pretty flat and even has some short down hill sections. There are a few very short steep bits in this first part before the pitch jacks up. The 20mins that I did last night revealed some nice steep sections, the kind that I really enjoy. They were never walking steep and didn’t go for to long. It would have been nice to do all of the 2nd half of the course, but I feel happy with what I have seen.

This morning I went back and did a really short easy 10mins on the lower part of the rd, with some drill and light stride outs and then run back down to the car. My legs felt good and I am ready. I then drove up the road again to get familiar with this part of the course.

The high light will be seeing Jonathan Wyatt in action! Its pretty cool having the 6 x World Champ racing tomorrow and I think it will be a real high light. This article has been floating around on sportzhub, cool running and in the press- http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/3583441/Wyatt-returns-to-tackle-NZ-mountains

I am now hanging out in Mot, drinking coffee, kicking back and general relaxing.

Thanks to every one that has sent me messages over the last week wishing me luck for this race.

Above- Jono ripping up Mt Campbell on the way to winning the 2008 NZ Champs

Goings On…..

Been ages since I bothered posting anything here, almost forgot that I had a silly little blog……….

Well if there is anyone out there that keeps track of this thing and hasn’t grown tried of waiting for the next post, here it is!

Been super busy, hence the lack of blogging. The 2 business that I run- http://www.iclimb.co.nz and my little baby- Ski Mountaineering Equipment have been cranking. I have been posting away a heap of Mont Bell and Simond gear for iclimb and things are already picking up for winter with SME. We import Dynafit and new for this year we have picked up ARVA, Brooks-Range and now we might even get Pomoca!

On the running front things have been going really well since Mt Lyford. I have started cranking into hill repeats and tempo runs. I even got down south on a sales trip and managed a few runs over the Routeburn track from the eastern side. I had a great run up to Harris Saddle and made good time back to the Routeburn Shelter. On the same trip I got a sweet 2hr out and back up the Copeland Valley (but sadly didn’t get to the hot pools). I have felt really strong on these work outs and am full of confidence going into the NZ mountain running champs this weekend, despite the stiff competition. Jonathan Wyatt (if you don’t know who Jono is then 1-  remove your head from your ass & 2- click on his link on the right side bar that is under “RUN”), 4 of the 2009 NZ Mt running team members and the 2007 NZ champs will all be on the start line at the base of Mt Campbell come Saturday!

Not that I am going to be taking a back seat to an army of North Islanders and the 5x world mountain running champ. As I said I am feeling strong and am full of self belief. The only thing more dangerous than someone that’s fighting fit and full of self belief is someone that is fit, confident and too stupid to know were they belong in the pecking order………

And now for a little motivational talk from Sick Of It All- “I Believe”