Being a little snowed down lately with work and sick kids, I am only now getting to a wrap up of the Shakespear Park Xterra Series race 3 weeks ago and the Tough Guy and Gal OCR race last weekend.Shakespear is an odd duck of a race; the terrain is farmland and gravel road with a bit of well cared for bush trails, but there are a few killer hills lurking. Now the hills aren’t necessary the biggest in the series, it more that they are all jammed into the final 4km. Last year in the short version of the event, I was merciless spared from these hills, turning off before the first big one.
Having caught the trail running bug at Xterra Rotorua, George also took part competing in the short race. So with the kids at their grandparents, who would be bringing them up later to see the finish, we were able to set off in relative calm.
Having been called out for not pushing myself and just cruising by Chris after Riverhead, I was determined to have a real crack at this time out. Last year I held back on the first down hill to the point I really hurt my knees, this year there was certainly none of that going on. I was a barely in control blur screaming down the paddock. It must have looked ridiculous but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to use the gravitational potential energy I’d stored up running up the road.
At the first drinks station, where all the distances meet up, it was time to start looking for my fellow Team Icebug members. I must have missed Chris by seconds as not long after that Tim shot past, then Ben. Before I knew it I was back by the start, and just as the short was to get underway; quick look and nope I couldn’t see George – but apparently she did spot me. I was feeling pretty happy with my pace at this point, and thought I knew what was ahead. With the tease of a run past the finish line, it was up the great equalizer of a hill. By the top the rest of my team had past, darn, it’s a mini goal to finish my race before they can finish theirs.
But after all the rolling hills, it was a short beach section and home over the finish line feeling pretty stuffed but happy with my time of 1:27. George, having done zero training also finished only a few seconds away from my effort last year.
Tough Guy and Gal:
Last year my mother Les (60), obviously inspired by me and Riverhead, decided that competing in an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) was something that needed to be added to her bucket list and that her sons would have to take part too. Having seen videos of races like the Tough Mudder and Spartans, I was a little worried about what she was getting us into. As it turned out the selected race, Tough Guy and Gal was less of an obstacle course and more of a mud run – luckily, as I don’t think I could have hauled my arse up and over walls.
With our nice clean Mother Tuckers shirts and shoes taped on we took off for the 6km event (which according to my watch was really 4.3km). My younger brothers soon took off and I stayed with mum – despite her consistent insistence I should leave her. As I said before this was a mud run and it practically made Riverhead look like a desert, with waist deep bogs and freezing streams. Once again my Zeals made me feel like I was stuck to the ground (when I wasn’t stuck in the ground), and I never felt like I was going to slip, even on the mud covered wooden obstacles. Unlike mum, who took a tumble when her foot slipped into a gap at top while climbing a 10ft ‘fence’. Not one to give up, she walked it off and we finished strong, with my brothers, who having already finished had come back to meet us.
If there was ever a time to wear the GoPro it was this, so enjoy the highlights.
Adding to the effort mum put in is the fact that she had pretty major surgery earlier in the year and a bunch of complications since, and now it turns out a chest infection on the day. Mum is normally a very active person who still gets up a 6am to go to the gym 3 times a week, plays bowls, cycle tours, and was in the breast cancer dragon boat gig, but this had to be scaled back for the past few months. I think this caused a bit of disappointment for her in not being able to smash out the race as quick as she would have liked, but finishing 56th out of 264 in the Female 40 and over division is a pretty solid effort in anyone’s book.
Who know, there might be a second attempt next year.