2019 The Guzzler 100km

Finally a long event on the doorsteps of my hometown, although not sure if this a good thing or a bad thing. As I knew a fair bit of the course, and lots of friends doing it – so it was pretty much a no brainer to do it. Plus I need the ITRA points for an upcoming event.

Preparation was good, lots of runs in the lead up months, no injuries and been living a healthy lifestyle with minimal work trips in the week leading up to the event – sthat was a win.

Solid entry from the Mountain Goat Trail Runners!

Race plan was to take it real slow and enjoy myself, and if I had anything left at 50km, then try to go faster then.

The start was a low fanfare event, literally a quick welcome from the organises and then we were off at 6.30am, heading out for the first of 3 dams, Enoggera Reservoir (Walkabout Creek) at 17km mark. Trying real hard to keep a steady trot, aiming at keeping my power at 200w for the first 50km – it’s surprisingly hard. Fortunately I had a few good chats along the way to the first check point at 17km and through to the 23km checkpoint, with the usual friendly faces of the Brisbane Trail Runners – with an unusual mandatory gear check of a “bandage”. Mine was at the bottom of my pack, so happy for a clothing change at the same time – as it was getting hot!

From the 23km checkpoint, down to Hell Hole (love the skeleton? at the bottom of Hell Hole) and also the Crampfix station back at the top. Although not needed, it was good to have the cheering at the top of Hell Hole. Then a gradual down over to the Gold Creek Reservoir at 31km for the next checkpoint.

Awesome checkpoint, of having the surprise seeing Lisa and Rupert and the massive MGTR squad offering a smorgasbord of food, which I happily topped up with.

Not sure if it was the stopping for a while or I was overheating, but my middle ear blocked up again just after this checkpoint. This also happened at Terawera, and I had tried to fix it, but obviously not enough and unfortunately I had my ear drops at the next major checkpoint which was at the 52km mark.

Pushing though, not being able to run properly, as my ear was blocked, it felt like my heart was beating excessively (but it wasn’t), so I could only fast walk – this also started to trigger some cramping, but I kept pushing though, as I knew the next sections were relatively flat and relief would come with the ear drops.

Getting to the 40km aid station was also a relief as I was out of water. Apparently lots of others were too! It was hot. I filled up all my water and after a chat – continued on. I also heard that I was one of the last to get water at this aid stop – as they had ran out.

With 16km to the next checkpoint, this was a tough section, even though was flat and downhill – I couldn’t run and felt the time slipping by….fast. The section had lovely runnable flat trails – which I could only walk on. Such a scenic area – most of which was new to me.

Finally getting to 56km to get my aqua ear and was welcomed by Riggers who gave me the royal treatment to keep me going (getting me food, encouragement and support – love the MGTR community). It was about to get dark, but I needed to spend 20 mins here recovering and re-calibrating for the next 44km in the dark with lots of ups and downs to come! I actually felt good, except for my middle ear. Having the aqua ear helped and then I was off again.

After about 1km, I was able to start running again, although now was a massive incline up Job 6, so far track it was, I had a new spring in my step as my ear was behaving. Although I was 3 hours behind where I wanted to be, time didn’t matter – I just wanted to finish!

Now completely in the dark, getting to the top of Job 6, was the first milestone of this section, but next was Township Break – having never done it before, how hard could it be! Turns out it really sux, a long steep sliding downhill and it kept going down. Fortunately I had my poles – so it made it easier. But still managed to land on my butt a few times. Then at the bottom, it was good that it was dark (as I couldn’t see the top) but then it was lots of steep back ups. Trekking up with Eva helped share the cursing to get to the top, but not knowing this section of the course, it was just a matter of running where I can, and trekking to steep bits – back to my original plan of the race 🙂

Finally hitting the second McAfees Lookout checkpoint (83km), the Brisbane Trail Runners were there still in force! Geoff – who I saw in the morning was still there late in the night! Legend. Having another decent rest and feed – it was the final slog home!

Straight back down Hell Hole – it seemed longer second time round, but back at the top it was actually higher spirits – as I knew it was pretty much downhill “known” trails now. Running for most of this, I connected with – which we kept pushing each other – and I was using her light as my ay-ups were fading – and I couldn’t be bothered to get my other one out. I was keen to push harder so I guided her to the start of Kokoda and I took off and wanted to push it harder to get it done. Kokoda which I knew, wasn’t too bad, and the final section back down the other side was just as good to get it done.

Guzzler 100km finish

Finishing with a small crowd, but enough to make me feel special and get my stuff for finishing, it was great to get the shoes and gear off, and warm up. After a bit it was a scary 1-2km walk back to the car, but thanks to Erica for the lift back to the car, it was a quick drive home and to bed, which by the time I reached the bed, the sun was about to come up…..

Gear:

  • Old Faithful but broken Salomon SLAB 12l pack. Probably the last wear as the zips have corroded hard to use and holes through the back section.
  • Lululemon Pants – worked well at Terawara, but got chaffing this time around. Think the fabric had stretched in the last 6 months.
  • MGTR Top and Hat – easy and reliable
  • Salomon – Sense Wave 2 shoes. Love these for the harder trails. I was pretty happy with these in my trial runs on the trails, but the size 12.5UK were a tad to small and over the 100km – gave my big toe alot of grief. Good chance of losing the nail. Still very happy with them, and since moved onto the 13.5UK – which should be fine going forward.

Nutrition:

  • As a base – protein balls; dates, plant based protein, coconut oil, LSA, almonds and coconut flakes.
  • Water – 1 x 600ml and 1 x 600ml alternating Arbonne PreWorkout and Hydration between each checkpoint.
  • Snacks on course: usual glucose lollies and salt chips
  • Hot noodle soup – mainly the salty soup was drunk, went down so well at night.

Yes – I’d be keen to do it again next year!

2019 Tarawera 102km Ultramarathon

Deciding to commit to this event 3 weeks out, is a great way to bypass the usual long term stresses of preparing for an event. I knew my body was in great condition, no injuries and was fit enough to do it, and since I was training with a bunch of guys and gals who were doing another ultra – I’d thought I’d get one done in early this year.

Leading into it, I have been trying new things for the last few months. A new eating lifestyle (High Fat, Low carbs and no processed sugar) and the big one – trying out using power as a indicator – when I run.

The Tarawera Ultramarathon (TUM) is based out of Rotorua – about 3 hours east of Auckland by car (or 45 mins by plane). I managed to get a lift with Chilli and Gus from BTR, who pulled through last minute helping me with logistics! Legends.

Leaving Brisbane Thursday morning, getting to the Rotorua Events Centre by Thursday night was easy. Gave us Friday – to get used to the smell. Get absorbed by the pre-race events – hear some briefings, hear some well (and not so) known trail-famous runners – which was actually a really good session!

I also opted to stay at the lodge at the start line, so I was on the bus to the start line at 7pm on Friday night (I am not sure why more people didn’t do this). Allowing me to roll out of bed at 5am, for a 6am start – as opposed to the others who were on a 4am bus from Rotorua (Plus it was only $50 for the night)

The Run:

6am starting in the dark for 10 minutes (wasn’t worth putting on the headlamps) and once over the golf course – the sunrise was on, and all good for the start of the single trails. Must say I loved this section, taking it slow and enjoying the scenery of the flowing clear creeks and green lush environment.

Sticking to my plan of keeping my power down to about 210W, I found a couple of others doing a similar pace – also a good reason to have a bit of a chat. After reaching the first checkpoint at Mangawhio (14km) – I still had plenty of water and food, so I kept going.

Enjoying the run and the technical trails between 40-60km, I was still feeling good and running steadily – keeping an eye on my power – most of the time.

Reaching the Okataina Checkpoint, and my first drop bags, I decided to stay in the same shoes – just change the socks. Restocked my food – which was a good thing because the checkpoint didn’t have much substantial food, and I was off again.

This section had “the hill” on the map – again taking it at a sustained pace and for a hill that was only 450m high – if felt alot longer – but all good once at the top.

Coming down the other side, getting my pace up abit again, my ears were blocking from water – nothing major – just an irritation of a blocked ear and hearing yourself breathing. I decided to take it slower to try to get ride of it, but it didn’t want to go. I took it slower and walked a bit around Blue Lake – really wishing I could jump in the water with all the Saturday afternoon families enjoying the water! But if I did – I know I would find it really hard to get out.

After the Blue Lake checkpoint was the final route to the Redwoods checkpoint, an undulating and technical section which also got dark for me. So headlamp came out and taking it easier along this section as well. A certain highlight was running through the Redwoods – and seeing the lights of some attraction in the dark – I thought I was halucinating – but was confirmed by others later that they exist. The entry to this checkpoint was also awesome – missed getting this CP with a video on entry – that would have been cool…

No real time to stop – just had a quick refill and back on the trail for the final section – a steady 7km flat section back to the Events Centre – with lots of cheering it certainly helped with teh run to the end. Special kudos for Andy Gray who ran with me for a bit at the end (after he already did the 50km) and got some video of the finish! A great reception and welcoming to a good day on the trails.

Interestingly I was put in the “special recovery” area as I had lost 6kgs of weight since the weigh-in the registration. Least I got to have my beer and a miso soup in a comfy area! Also really appreciative of Andy Gray other Brisbane Trail Runners (and Jackie Pova) who hung around until the end to see me finish and see how I was going.

Such a great community feel and after about 30 mins, got myself together – and trekked 1.5km back to the hotel to get some proper sleep.

Thanks to;

  • Andy Dubios for the last minute tips on power.
  • Pete Trimble for buying me a future race (Coastal High), during this one – as it opened (and sold out ) while I was running
  • Chilli, Gus and the Toomeys for helping massively with logistics of transport and lodging.
  • All the legends at MGTR who made some of the longer runs trail running really enjoyable.

Nutrition:

  • 1 x Clif Bloc square every 30 mins
  • Between every checkpoint 2 x Arbonne PreWorkout + at every check point and top up water to 1.2L for each leg – which I drank most of.
  • Variety of fruit at the checkpoints.
  • Was excited by the fact Dominoes NZ was sponsoring Blue Lake Checkpoint – unfortunately they didn’t have any in the window I went through. Before and after apparently 🙂

Gear:

  • Mountain Goat TrailRunners singlet and Hat. I would say the course was about 80% protected from the sun (and the high UV in NZ). I applied 1 good coat of sunscreen pre-race, and had my long sleeve top in my bag – but didn’t need it.
  • Lululemon Skins and Pants in 1. Just found these a week before – and a natural fit for me and also stopping any chaffing!
  • Salomon Speedcross 4 with Innersoles (because the standard Salomon innersoles are terrible)
  • Salomon 12l pack – the old faithful. No where near full, but has the front water bottle holders which I love.

Tips;

  1. Get used to NZ timezone a few weeks before the event. It’s actually pretty easy from the East Coast of Australia
  2. Be prepared to use you your own Drop Bags for food. They had run out of good stuff by the time I went through.
  3. Probably only need decent x-road running shoes. The trails are not too technical, and there is 1 main section of technical running – I would skip the full trail shoes next time.
  4. If you don’t know the course – don’t listen to the volunteers who say – this is the last hill – I heard this soo many times – where it wasn’t 🙂

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