My last couple of big running events involved plenty of testing and learning. That theme has continued into the autumn, as I aim to rehab an achilles/plantaris injury. So although I’d rather be writing about new adventures, it’s handy to note any lessons from the past ones while I remember. Wait, I’ve forgotten. Was it ‘Maybe don’t do ultras cos you get sick’? Nah, surely not.
Apologies for my website auto-emailing out this post incomplete a few days ago too! That’ll teach me to test layouts on a whim late at night.
First, I’ll roll back to the NZ 2022 24 Hour Championships in November. I’d recovered slowly from the 100k World Champs, and subsequently not got in an optimal amount of training time. However, this event had been cancelled in 2021, and offered an opportunity to log a possible qualifier for the 2023 Worlds. I’m sure muscle memory is a thing. And who wouldn’t want to hang out with good people and run in circles? Fiona Hayvice kindly flew up especially to crew so I felt very lucky.
It was great to be back at a Sri Chinmoy event, to catch up with running friends as we lapped, and to be alongside Sue and Garry from Hawks trying their first 24 hour. Scott from Curranz popped in to do a quick interview, after kindly sponsoring some product for before, during, and after the race.
The 6-person relay team members would whoosh by often in a blur of speed. As a side note – despite the fact that these teams were compiled of excellent runners, each having breaks in between, Alexandr Sorokin would still have beaten the winners’ collective 311k by 8k when achieving his world record. Wild. Bet he trained a bit.
My big experiment for this one was to stick more to real food and Nuun electrolytes, rather than gels and sweet stuff. About 10 or so hours in I was pacing well and feeling pleased with this smart approach. A few hours after that I was not pleased at all. Nothing obvious had changed, but it was the sickest I’ve been in terms of sheer frequency. ‘Are you ok?’ Sue enquired as I hunched over the fence yet again, getting very little in response. Fi inventively offered every food and drink option she could muster (no doubt getting grumpy or despairing refusals in response). Fun fact – the most successful item, at least briefly, was a sweet rice cake she happened to have brought back from the Sri Chinmoy 3100 mile race in New York when crewing there. Herbal tea was nice, briefly. But nothing worked for too long. Cue the self-questioning of why exactly I was doing this yet again, while finding out if there was any bile left to expel. Ultras are fun! Everyone should try one!
The tough part was that I’d brought a myriad of food and drink options, but nothing at all was desirable or effective. Walking always helps settle things, but sees the distance goals slip away bit by bit.
It’s the ridiculous fence-hunching bits that stand out most, but there were plenty of good times. Conversations. Commiserations. Hitting a milestone simultaneously with Shawn from Squadrun (100k? 160?). Appreciating everyone working on their own journey and aim. The quiet hours in the middle of the night can be rough, but beautifully serene too.
Another unexpected obstacle was that the sporadic rain and no shoe change produced some deep blisters under the skin of the soles of my feet. I can deal with the usual heel-foot-toe ones that eventually pop, but was a bit stumped on these, which slowed me up nearer the finish even when the nausea lessened for a spell.
Eventually the sun rose and the blessed hooter called an end to the event. Although the journey had been rough and no PB was on the cards, I’d give the run a solid ‘B’ grade. My main goal was achieved – log a result over 180k that could be considered as a future world champs qualifier. 191k, it shook down as, for first woman. Emma and Sue rounded out the podium, and Keith, Shawn, and Richard (respectively) took out the men’s. Full results here >
- More work to do on nutrition.
- Change shoes if they’re wet. Don’t laugh at Alba’s suggestion about borrowing her waterproof socks.
- Things that worked: pacing, taping, keeping moving. You can get away with a lot with a combination of good prep, muscle memory, and excellent crew. Did not end up collapsed under a table! (See Albi, 2019).
- Chafing can beat even Triglide if it’s humid. Fiona saved my bacon by donating her own undies to the cause. That’s true commitment. Fun fact – I liked them so much I later bought my own from Runderwear, and wore them lots and recommended them, and then my sister asked, concerned, why I had recommended she wear see-through undies by themselves as shorts. I stand by my position. They’re fine.
- I’m still not nailing warm conditions though. Need to take more time for ice and cooling.
- The Curranz did seem to help recovery. I was walking, squatting and jumping sooner than I’d usually expect.
Big thanks to Connect Osteo for helping me hold together before and after, and to Trek’n’Travel for the gear and nutrition options for the stash. Fiona’s assistance was fantastic and much appreciated. Did I mention the undie lending? Sue’s husband Steve was a calm helpful presence too (and got to keep his undies). I was also grateful for the kind hospitality from Preetidutta and Kate before the race (not to mention hours of lap check-ins during!) And to all my fellow masochists: kudos. Love your work.
Obviously I was secretly enjoying the whole experience because I then turned around and got ready to do another one. Tarawera 100 mile 2023 report – coming soon!
2 thoughts on “Race roundup: NZ 24 hour champs 2022”
Having created my own bile Jackson Pollock over that far fence in 2020 I feel for you Dawn. I found once it starts really going (heatstroke vomiting) it was really hard to come back from. When Jaime had to catch me stumbling in the wrong direction it was starting to get pretty silly so I stoped.
My new practice is to stay ahead on hydration. Force myself to finish my drinks before I hit aid stations or 45 mins. I think if i go back to Sri Chinmoy I’ll be icing from the get go if it’s hot.
Heading in the wrong direction is next level – good call there! Hydration is a tricky one for me, as forcing extra fluid when I don’t want it can mess with the stomach in itself. Ice is always handy though.