After a Long Break, a Long Post.

What a start to the year, work and life have been next level crazy busy so I’ve been a bit slack on getting a blog post out since Raglan. Quite a few people that I’ve run into lately have asked if I’d given up on my blogs or what my plans for the year are. While it would have been more appropriate a month ago, because that’s when these things are done, here are my goals for this year.

Last year my two big goals were to run the super longs in the Xterra series and of course finish my first ultra-marathon. With them ticked off (well most of the series due to weather) I’ve gotten to thinking about what I want to get out of 2019.

One thing I’ll definitely be lining up for is the Auckland Xterra series for my fourth year. I’ll be again taking on the super long version, with fingers crossed for the weather to cooperate and let me collect the complete set this year. Having an event every three weeks gives me the motivation to get off my arse and keep moving during the colder months. But before I can even think about the series I’ve got 4 or 5 other events to get through. All of these will be new events, or in one case a new distance.

First up is the Coastal Challenge, which as the name subtly hints at is a race along the coastline of Auckland’s North Shore. So with a discount I snagged thanks to my VIP Wild Things membership (well worth the $50), and the status of the Hillary Event unknown at the time I signed up for the 33km Full Monty. However in light of the next event below being the following weekend, I’ve reduced this down to the 22km Mid Monty.

I think the Hillary Trail event will always hold a special place on my calendar, but with the rāhui in place over the Waitakere Ranges, Shaun and his team cancelled this years event to respect the rāhui. However Lactic Turkey have performed nothing less than magic to create a replacement event – The Gazuntite. Held at Atiu Creek Farm the weekend after the Coastal Challenge, how could I pass up a new event that might also be it’s last, though I seriously doubt that. With free on site camping before and after the event, there could be quite the party going down. So come February 24th I’ll be blindly looping around the place for 34km.

April brings another set of back to back events, first with Xterra Rotorua and then a week later the Breca Bay of Islands swimrun. I’ve once again entered the 21km event at Xterra and George is stepping up to the 11km. I’m still in two minds whether to stick at 21km with Breca the next week, so we’ll see how I’m feeling, it might just be a slow easy one.

Breca Bay of Islands is certainly the event that’s got me the most nervous, with so many new and different facets to it. I think the running will be ok, but it’s running in a wetsuit that makes it a challenge. Swimming is coming along, but 8km is a lot of swimming and it’s open water with my shoes on too.  There are a lot of cut offs, and I have know idea if they are tight or not. And then there is the team aspect; while I first entered the event with Tim, a recent new arrival to the Farland clan has made training a lot harder for him and he’s had to withdraw (which seems to be pretty common). A panicked hunt around and I’d found a new partner silly excited enough to join (tow) me. So drum roll please, my new partner will be … Chris, who you might remember was my coach last year and who is also quite speedy.  An interesting feature of swimrun is that teams can use a tow rope to ‘assist’ the weaker team member, and I think I’ve formulated a wining strategy, I just need to find wheelie shoes in a size 12.

If you’ve been counting, and I know you have, that’s four events. An event that has caught my eye is the Great Cranleigh Kauri Run on the Coromandel. While looking at photos friends took last year it looks amazing, I’m just wary of jamming to much in at the start of the year. But watch this space and my rubber arm (which no doubt Liz will start twisting). Oh and there is also The Dual on Rangitoto, so maybe it’s six before the series.

I haven’t made up my mind on the back end of the year yet (besides hitting the wall at Raglan Karioi again), and while I enjoyed Tawawera last year I don’t think I’ll head back this year, except to support Ben with his unfinished business. There are a couple of smaller, low key events that look like fun and something a bit different;  The Blue Lake 24hr race involves running around Rotorua’s blue lake as many times as you can in 24hrs. The other is the Aorangi Undulator aka The A100, 100km over 3 days with finishers undies – what’s not to love? Oh yeah, I know what, 5370m of gain!

While events are great fun and give me goals to aim for, I really want to step up the number of adventures I do this year. While I have no ultra’s locked in “for this year”, I want to knock off a couple of ultra adventures/overnighters. Late last year I hosted an urban ultra on the trails around my home, but unfortunately I didn’t get to complete the full 50km, so definitely this will be one for me to complete. I also want to get a couple of swimrun adventures in. In New Zealand we’re spoilt for places that will be perfect to bay or island hopping. Of course at some point there will be this years Beer 6k Trail run. I’d also like to surprise a few more people with the trails around home.

I think getting out on adventures is so critical for keeping the passion for running alive, without the focus on going as fast as you can – not that I go very fast anyway. Many clichés come to mind here, you know the ones: “Take time and smell the invasive Japanese Jasmine”, or “you can’t see the trail markings for the trees and you follow a trapping line”. Last years each Friday run day spent exploring the Waitaks was a new adventure, but as I’m aiming to respect the rāhui I’m going to have to get my fix elsewhere. Thankfully this does lend itself to the more adventures goal quite nicely.

I really want to give back this year and help out at a couple of events – which might work out well in stopping me from entering too many. I also want to try and encourage a few people to get on the trails, so they too can discover what I have. I’ve already started to get my eldest daughter out for a couple of short runs, the only problem is trying to keep up with her.

On a completely different tack, I’ve had people ask me about Trail Snail merchandise. This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, so I guess the question is a) do you really want some Trail Snail gear, and b) what kinda gear would you like; shirt, buff, bottle opener, hat, bumper sticker, bottle opener hat? I’ll put up a Facebook poll soon so the people can have their say as it were.

So yeah, there it is, my running goals for the year. A busy start to the year, with the last part of the year set aside to train up for ……

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