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Time to taper – Emma Hayes

It is now only 12 days until race day or you might say 288 hours or 17,280 minutes or perhaps 1,036,800 seconds. The last of the long runs happened during Labour weekend and it was 28 wonderful kilometres along the Little River Rail trail. The previous week I did a 30km run along Summit Road and Crater Rim. It was the Saturday where the wind was ferocious to the point where mountain bikers couldn’t even stay on their bike with the wind. I set off with Jenn (my directionally challenged partner in crime) and I kept the car keys in my bag as I’m usually back at the car first. Jenn wasn’t feeling so hot at the start of the run so I said I would keep her in sight in case we needed to turn back. What a big fat lie that was!! I took off and didn’t even look back. I turned after about 1 hour where Mount Pleasant Road joints Summit Road as there was a rally on. On the way back towards the Rapaki I was pretty surprised that I didn’t see Jenn running towards me. I then started to feel really bad at the 2.5 hour mark when I didn’t see her and imagined her hiding in the toilets at the Sign of the Kiwi ill and trying to keep warm and sheltered from the wind and probably cursing me. I ran to Sign of the Kiwi and no Jenn in sight. I ran on towards Kennedy Bush track but the wind was so strong it was like being on a treadmill so I turned back towards the car. I did a quick stop by the loos again just to make sure Jenn definitely wasn’t there and frightened some poor unsuspecting woman. Talk about tormenting myself running past the car twice with 8km to go the first time and 4km to go the second time. I finished up and hung out in the car until about 30 minutes later Jenn arrived. While I had stuck to the lower tracks to shelter from the wind, Jenn ‘legs of steel’ Chowaniec stuck to the tracks, got slightly misplaced, mistook a man in an orange t-shirt for me and shouted and followed him thinking it was me then dropped in on a car rally only to be told she would have to go back over the hill as the road was closed. You can imagine she was a super happy camper but it was nothing a pint later that day couldn’t fix! Character building eh!

I’ve found with subsequent runs that I really have trained myself to start taking on nutrition and liquid early on. I headed out on a 15km run last weekend and left my fuel filled drinks bottles on the sink where I had filled them up before I left – blonde moment! It really made a difference to my run. I’ve found taking a sip every kilometre is a good way to get the fluids in. I’m not great at taking on lots of fluids but this is a good way to tip away at it. My watch beeps at every kilometre so it is a handy reminder. Eating wise, I find Nakd bars work best for me when running but have recently discovered a recipe online to make your own and they are great. I can now start eating 30 minutes into a run – something I never thought I’d be able to do.

So here I am 287 hours and 30 minutes away from the start line and the official tapering has begun. This is the part I’m usually really bad at. When training for previous races, I tend to peak too early and taper wwaaaayyy too soon. I see this whole experience as reaching a goal but also a very personal journey where I get to test my body, my motivation and dedication. I’ve learned so many new and wonderful skills, met a lot of interesting inspiring people along the way and have really challenged myself. The last month has been quite busy and it has made fitting in training a challenge but also it has given me a great excuse to explore new places. I spent 1 week in Brisbane at a conference. I took the opportunity run along the river. Even at 5.30am it was 20 degrees and warm unlike warm Christchurch which is 20 degrees with a southerly. The river front at 5.30am was as busy as the Port Hills on a Sunday morning with runners and cyclists. There was the added bonus of watching the rowing crews too. The picture inset is me post run in Brisbane flying the TeamCP flag. It seems that CPers took over Aussie that week with a great showing in Adelaide. I also spent a few days in Wellington at another conference and got one of “those” days in Wellington and got to enjoy running around the waterfront without having to battle a tornado style wind. The taper plan over the next two week is reducing the long runs at the weekend to one medium run and just keeping up some speed work and hill work during the week. I am enjoying this time and haven’t got ants in my pants just yet. For me, it is great knowing that I already have my next challenge lined up with coast to coast and I am looking forward to adding road biking into the training mix.

I look forward to reporting the result of the fruits of my labour in a few weeks.

Thanks to everyone at both Tuesday and Thursday run group who have kept me honest!

Big shout out to Simon – none of this would be possible without your careful planning and rocket jumps 🙂