To account for my persistent lack of updating this blog I'm going to avoid apologies and excuses. What I will do is briefly outline what has been a pretty hectic past 3 or 4 months.
I'll start off back in early July at the Canterbury Cross Country Championships. This was the first race of a busy little mini season in NZ. This race was a mud bath/fest which raced around the Halswell Quarry on a sweet little 2km circuit with plenty of thrills and spills. I'd aimed to run as hard as I could for as long as I could, with the aim of making the Canterbury Team for the National Cross. I ended up a satisfactory 7th, feeling slightly disappointed and worried that I'd miss out on the team.
I picked things up again quickly after this race and trained as if I had made the team, the only option really and planned that what would be would be. It was brilliant being back in Christchurch and the ease and accessabilty of the hills and Hagley park made training a real treat.
Next on the cards was Captain Cook's landing in the Marlborough Sounds. This was an event, proper. The race filled part of what was a magic weekend away spent with a fine bunch of people. For those of you who know the race you know what I'm talking about, those that don't, well I suggest you find out. But for a taste you are ferried out, picked up, well-fed and ferried back to Picton. She's a long day but worth every ounce of energy spent. In terms of the run, the Queen Charlottle trail is very special, fast and well maintained, especially for the mid winter time of year. The 26km is much more my distance and as Dave took off from the start I was happy to relax into second and build into my work, safe in the knowledge that there was still plenty of running to be had. I only managed to join Dave with a couple of kms to go and managed to pass him down into the finish area for my first win in NZ for over a year.
From here it was a switch of focus back onto the shorter form of the game (5-10km) with the well run Christchurch Riverside relays and Nat Cross Country. I had just recieved word of making the team so I was really excited about that and keen to get stuck in. Running for University in the relays we all ran very well on a stunningly mild Christchurch winter afternoon. However, we where no match for a sharp New Brighton/Olympic team, boasting some seriously speedy legs (at the time of writing this they have just won the National Road Relay title). The day was again a fine showing from all of the clubs and reaffirms how wonderful the Christchurch running community is!
2 races to go now, National Cross and Taupo Half Marathon. Nationals was on a stunning Saturday in Hamilton on the same day as the Super rugby final. I'd love to say that the two events complimented eachother so well and the vast majority of Rugby supporters thought an afternoon of watching NZ's best running talent would whet the apptite for the evening ahead. Sadly I'd be lying. However, I do believe an oportunity was lost. I didn't see one piece of advertising in Hamilton for the Championships and surely a few punters would have strolled along for a look? Having said that, support was not lacking, in fact it was outstanding and a pleasure to run around the testing course in provincial colours. The race started hard and fast and I tried to maintain a pace that did hurt me during the middle of the race. Overall I came home in 20th position and Canterbury just missed out on the top spot to Auckland. We settled for silver and all ran very hard to achieve that!
A quick drive to Taupo and the next morning I was on the start line for the 20th edition of the Taupo Half. This is an out and back course that follows the edge of the great lake and takes in a new section of pathed DOC track within splashing distance of the lake. The field, although large, was mainly of honest runners who go for the weekend and soak up the array of incredible spot prizes on offer afterwards.
It was great to be back inTaupo and I was pleased to grind my way around the course in 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Now looking back I'm very happy with the results from my stint back in NZ. If it'd all gone to plan I would have loved a top 12 position at NZ Cross but just to make the team and be part of it was great. The top 12 can wait for another day!
Changing hemispheres now and since my arrival back in the UK I've competed in 2 races. The first was a Cross County style race that was 10km long and the second the Ipswich Half Marathon, a tight and hilly affair run over a great closed off circuit course with plenty of support. These have all been helping build towards Frankfurt which is now less than 3 weeks away! I can confidentally say that a PB in Frankfurt is really on the cards. My build up throughout the past 3 months has been very matter of fact, disaplined and balanced. Having run 100 mile weeks while pumping out 12 hour working days has really made me keep a focus and become more determined to achieve this. With one final hit out this Sunday (10mile race) I'll go into the final and probably must challenging two weeks of the training phase. The final taper. This is an area that is quite foreign to me and something which in the past I can honestly admit I haven't given enough thought or respect to. This is one of the things I've grown to love about running. No matter how much you do, how far you go, what your time is, you are forever learning something new about the sport, its science and yourself. Granted there are plenty of so-called experts out there, I'm happy to say I'm not one of them. Whether or not this taper will give me the extra benefit I'm hoping for, time will tell.
Lastly, as Frankfurt fast approaches I still have to remained focused right up to the start line. As is the beauty of this running caper, being fit and ready to run at the start line is one of our sport's biggest challenges.
I'll post again before the race.
Run well and massive!