2018 – My running year

The next thrilling instalment in my semi-annual series looking back at the running year that was. For previous reviews of my year in running, see 2017’s here, 2015’s here and 2014’s here.

High-level stats

Total distance: 6,003kms

Total time: 569hrs 57mins

Total vertical gain: 68,492m

Number of individual runs: 310

Summary

All-in-all it was a good running year. I upped the distance (yet again) had some really good results and, in an end-of-year downer, got my first ever DNF in an ultra. Luckily my running buddies (with friends like these, who needs enemies?) haven’t let me forget that DNF and I’m not planning on dropping out of any more races anytime soon.

Again the year saw a small group of runners train and race together. My regular lunchtime mates – Andy, Lee and Kevin, and weekend partner Yonni, all got some team kit this year and have been showing up at the odd races resplendent in bright yellow Hagley Hombres tops. It’s a bit of a laugh, and very inside baseball (Hagley Hombres is a parody of the Cappuccino Cowboys, themselves a parody of the group of US elite ultra runners, the Coconino Cowboys – I did say it was inside baseball!) but it’s a fun, supportive crew (with lots and lots of private message banter!)

Of course there is a flip side and Kevin, the passive/aggressive member, caused a few ructions – a well-publicized spear-tackle (see video below and look closely for the figure in yellow – me – just past the finish line) of yours truly and a few cases of unsportsmanlike behaviour around Hagley Park were duly noted…

January – 430kms, 43 hours

Just one race this month, but I managed to win it! I’ve been racing at the St James events for a few years and have done various distances from the half marathon up. This year I did the 100km with a small group of other runners. I got a bit of a fright when Sarah went to the front from the gun, but after catching her on the first climb, I never saw anyone again all day. On a seriously hot day, I was happy enough to come in a smidgen under 12 hours for the 103km distance.

February – 587kms, 55 hours

For the past three years, February has seen me make the pilgrimage to the West Coast to race my favourite race bar none, The Old Ghost Ultra. This year was no different, the only thing that changed was my time. Off the back of a big month of training, I had a great race and took half an hour off my previous best time and managed a podium spot in my age group as well. An awesome run (race report here.)

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March – 610kms, 52 hours

The Hombres did a group trip down to the Arrowsmith Marathon. This year the course was a quagmire and there was plenty of swearing as we did the “one step forward, three steps back” routine on the climb. The conditions (and the fact that it wasn’t my day) meant that I didn’t beat my previous year’s time, but still managed a top 10 overall and to snag the first vet position.

April – 578kms, 55 hours

Last year I raced the inaugural Krayzie Kapers event. This year, the Krayzie crew, Steph and George, added another event to their list, Totara Trails. The weather for the event was pretty horrid and it was cold and wet and windy on the tops (kudos to Kevin for marshalling up the top for hours). It was nice to race the entire event with Yonni and for him and me to come away with fourth equal positions – a faster finishing sprint and we would have shared the podium!

April also saw the start of the sneaky Hagley Hombres “fiddy missions.” When tired old men run 50 kilometres to feel better about themselves (and get a good dose of passive aggressiveness in). I had extra reason to do my 50 since Yonni has long hassled me that his 50km time is faster than his. A 4:15 around the river and park shut him up, for all of five minutes.

May – 496kms, 53 hours

May was proud dad month when I got to see Yonni become the youngest ever New Zealander to complete a 100-mile race. It was super cool to run the entire Old Forest 100 event (all 29 hours of it) alongside him. A very different experience from the same event last year where I won in 18 hours or so – those extra 11 hours certainly hurt and I ended up finishing bent over with a painful hip. A full race review is here.

June – 534kms, 43 hours

Two weeks after a 100-mile trail race doesn’t sound like a smart time to try and race a quick half marathon on the road, but that’s what I did. Since most of the Hombres were heading out to do something at the Christchurch Marathon, I decided to join them. Despite sub-optimal training, I actually had a good race and set a PB for a road half of 1:26. Special mention to teammate Lee who set a Hombres full marathon record.

July – 666kms, 56 hours

No racing in July, just a big month of based training for my target race of the year…

August – 467kms, 59 hours (and… Leadville)

I’ve read about the Leadville 100 Mile race for years, The Race Across The Sky was made famous by the book Born to Run and the event, the second oldest trail 100-mile race in the US, has become a must-do event. On a whim, I entered the lottery late in 2017 and found out in January that I’d be drawn for an entry. I didn’t know what to expect from this race, it’s run at high elevation and is a challenging event. I had four different scenarios for how I’d do and I was absolutely stoked to make my A-goal and finish in under 24 hours.

If nothing else, running Leadville was certainly one for the bucket list. If you’re so inclined you can read my (long) race report about Leadville here.

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August also saw New Zealand runner (and well-known radio DJ) Dom Harvey do a charity run of five marathons in five days. I couldn’t resist joining him on his Christchurch leg and despite only having a couple of weeks between Leadville and this marathon, the slow cruisy pace, and the good company made it seem easier than it actually was.

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September – 391kms, 32 hours

Leadville left me tired and a little bit unmotivated – looking back it probably took me three or four months to get my running mojo back again. But despite being tired, I kept trying…

October – 396kms, 34 hours

Some of October saw me in Europe accompanying Viv on a research trip. I did a bit of running there but nothing too substantial. I was still a little bit tired and an active recovery approach seemed to be a good idea.

November – 349kms, 42 hours

My shortest month of the year, and probably my worst one. I entered and started the Krayzie Kapers 100 mile race and felt OK for the first 100kms or so. But at 130kms I really couldn’t be bothered any more. In hindsight, it was just before sunrise and this is always a terrible time mentally – I should have kept going and would no doubt have enjoyed a second wind once the sun came up. Hindsight has 20/20 vision, they say.

Nonetheless, it was awesome to have all the Hombres at this race. Kevin did an awesome job in his first miler, finishing and coming second. Yonni, Andy and Lee all had excellent runs in their respective races.

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December – 498kms, 45 hours

No racing in December, just the laying down of some more base work for the year ahead. My biggest month since Leadville and the first time I’d felt relatively strong again. Let’s see how that plays out for 2019 racing!

Overall

It’s been a big year, the graph below shows how my mileage has ramped up over the past decade or so. Mileage aside, I’m just stoked that I can get out and do it and share it with a good bunch of people. Here’s to another great year of running!

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