Xterra Winter Series. Riverhead Forest.

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Blah blah blah. Just ignore that inner voice telling you to not run. Photo: Paul Petch. Feet: Hobbit.

Blah blah blah. Just ignore that inner voice telling you to not run. Photo: Paul Petch. Feet: Hobbit.

I thought it best to smash out this post ASAP because I tend to get some mighty good stoke mid run which soon fades. Today’s first event of the Total Sport’s Xterra trail series was seriously muddy and a true baptism of fire to Winter running. But did I enjoy it?

This week has been interesting. Seven days of life giving work travelling all over the place no less, and as a commercial shooter a fantastic way to keep moving forward. But the running suffered, and with some bugs previously, a tweaked lower back and well…. that stuff called rain… it has been tricky. My last run was a week or so ago, and after signing up for the first run of the Winter series at Riverhead I was a bit worried. I like to suffer, clearly I do, but that little voice in my head was at it again telling me all the reasons why I ‘should not run’ rather than ‘your all good- f#ck it.’ I get these ‘episodes’ a few times per year and the start of the cold stuff is the worst.

Don’t run as your back is sore.
You have not run in a week.
You train differently to everyone else so wait a while.
You have lost your base.
You need to rest after a long week of physical work.
You deserve cake and…. more cake.
You are to old for this shit. (Actually…. :))
It’s to early to get up and race in the cold on a Sunday.
Blah blah blah.

Regardless, I decided to run the mid length trail of about 13KM this AM out at Riverhead close to Auckland. After literally arriving as the runners were being ‘released into the wild’ ( I blame being a Daddy, but in all reality i’m a lazy ass) I frantically pushed my way to the front of the ‘late entry’ line and managed to shortcut the suffering. And after a quick kiss of my son and wife (oh such a modern man) I was off! SCREW YOU inner voices….

Maybe it was the sobering reality of being LAST that motivated me, but I ran up the starting climb (yes ran!) and soon caught up to the group. One thing that always strikes me at Total Sport events that I’ve been at or involved with is the vast number of runners who take part. I can also tell you that the types of runners are all shapes and sizes, and of all ages. I felt very much at home :)

Sure there were the runners with more gear hanging off them than the Terminator chasing Sarah Connors, but mostly the field was chockers full of people just like me and you- just getting amongst it. It’s damn refreshing and really inspiring to see.

Yeah boi. Photo: http://photos4sale.co.nz/

Yeah boi. Photo: http://photos4sale.co.nz/

With no idea of how far I was running other than time on feet (yes… an ancient device known as a watch..), and Spotify blasting such classics from Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd and Black Sabboth, I was into it like a pig in mud. Literally. Now let’s talk about mud shall we? I love the stuff. But there are two types in my mind- mud- and death creating CLAY. Well today felt like running in clay with intermittent mud and holy moley it was a challenge. The super grippy Merrell runners I’ve fallen in love with this year really helped, but shoes can only cope with so much. Thankfully seeing so many people fall over made it all better. That is all.

Overall the mid length course was maybe 60% slipfest and 40% actual running. I prefer the running side of things to be really honest, but I still had a blast. Sure the Summer spring in my step is fading, but we all know that embracing the GRIT ain’t ever meant to be easy right?

Best of all that wee devil that sits on my shoulder telling me i’m not good enough to run today- and that it’s to cold to get outside- fell off pretty fast, and I finished feeling strong and an urge for massage. Then the the sky opened it’s gates to what can only be described as ‘time to build that bloody ark Noah’. WIN.

Today’s Xterra run was trail time at it’s best surrounded by all types of people ‘giving it a go’. GPR will be back for the rest of the series for sure, and recommend that you come out and give it a good go too. You never know, you might enjoy it… rain or shine :)

Check out the series over at the Total Sport website and the next one is at Shakespeare Regional Park. Photo of yours truly by  http://photos4sale.co.nz/

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Paul Petch
Director of Good People Run, pro photographer, tutor and a recovering 'runaholic'. Based in Auckland City, my work is at www.paulpetchphoto.com
Paul Petch

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