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.