10pm Saturday night I thought it wise to check when the next Xterra Winter trail run actually was. Coming off a week of the flu- I felt some motivation. Hmmm… tomorrow. Oh well that’s Sunday’s adventure to Shakespear Park sorted.
This time around I was a little more prepared on the day turning up ready to roll 20 minutes prior to the start at Shakespear Park vs 1 minute last run at Riverhead. I had a week of energy to shake off. A triple shot flat white in hand, a wee stash of jelly dinosaurs in my pocket, and rocking out to Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon in my head phones, I was ready to run. The energy was electric. I was feeling stoked! In previous years this start line buzz/ frenzy had me afraid- but not anymore. Run or walk I was here to get outside, feel the sun on my face and be part of a tribe. I’ll take it as it comes, as moving every damn day is key. No expectations anymore.
Off up the fire road climb we went. I was running and hurting in seconds as I hung in there to the top trail. My heart rate monitor was working well! I discovered that wanting to vomit is above my ideal, while thinking of the landscapes is below the ideal.. so not being abale to think about sh$t is perfect! It never failed me :)
The theme of the mid length course can be simply put overall as ‘it hurt like balls’ – Oh yuuussss a descent! – damn it another climb – Oh yuuussss a descent! -damn it another climb. It hurts like balls. Flicking through Pink Floyd, Foo Fighters and Wolf Mother on my ipod helped alleviate the reality of every single climb being visible minus any tree coverage- but not much. The overall gain was less than 400M over the run, but it was the gradient of the ups which made it interesting :)
What I enjoyed most throughout the sufferfest was to stop and appreciate the amazing views across the park and oceans towards open seas or Auckland City. Rangitoto was on form too, and the gentle breezes sublime. I stretched a bit, shot some photos, and thought of the middle ground of life and running. The sweet spot. The dream!
Taking time to look at my fellow tribe on the climbs brought a realisation of how moving our bodies is what it is all about and within the ‘temporary’ pain and suffering comes a reality found no where else. Within this place called ‘running’ we are equal. We are in this moment together. Buzzy!
So back to the course. It consisted mainly of grassy or fire road ups and downs for the 10.5KM. Ridge lines brought relief and views with the occasional urge to run arms open singing, while some tight forest tracks a feeling of flow with intermittent urges to scream “ON YA RIGHT!” and look like a pro (a pro idiot). I mostly resisted both urges.
I honestly had no idea what my time was other than a reality of going out hard with some regrets :) People passed me on the ups- and I passed them on the downs- and repeat. My stash of jelly dinosaurs was gone and I was ok with that as my mouth now felt like the ass of a yellow jelly dinosaur. Then the finish was in sight so with one massive push I blasted down the final descent….. YUUUSSS! I’M AWESOOOOMEEE!
Well. NOOOOO. We ran past the finish to the biggest climb of the run. F$ck.
YUUUUUS! The beach and possible finish was in sight and I casually ran in to sprint the last hundred metres and pass a few hippies in a blaze of glory! I’m yet to check but I think my time was like 1 hr 10minutes. Not bad for a course designed for motorbikes.
Wanting to vomit for most of the run is now my new heart rate monitor feature. What an upgrade.
Meanwhile, check out the fantastic Xterra Winter series by Total Sport to keep your stoke over the colder months. Highly recommended. The next run is on my 42nd birthday – July 10th at Totara Park and another new location to explore and enjoy.