Grant Harding Ironman Life #4

By Grant Harding - Ironman Life

Hawke's Bay Today deputy editor Grant Harding, who will participate in Ironman New Zealand 2013, having completed the event in 2010 and gone to the start line this year only to be denied by the weather, shares his Ironman life. You can follow his exploits on Twitter @grantharding4 

I'm expecting to throw up next Sunday.

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No, the boys are not back in town to lead me astray.

It's just the beginning of the second Inov-8 Hawke's Bay Trail Run Series.

Talk about tough, Trevor! Talk about mud, Trevor!

I competed in two of the four events last year - at Eskdale and Pukeora mountain bike parks. The going was so difficult at times that I fast-walked uphill quicker than I could run. And at Eskdale, when running, we had to go over the top of a slip caused by last year's April floods, and career down hill faster than Piera Hudson.

The trick to these events is not to over-estimate your ability or - you might throw up! For example, I will not be doing the long course (21km) even though I can run that far. In trail running (off-road) any distance is more in comparison to the road equivalent.

My fitness will be tested enough in the first event this season, the Steven Hill (Napier) Terrific Tui, by the medium course which the organisers say is somewhere between 10 and 15km. What's 5km between friends?

Don't be put off by my weak gut lining. The short course option is true to the series motto of, "because off road is more fun". (But if you're in love with your running shoes, use an old pair.)

It's part of my philosophy in the buildup to Ironman 2013 to support local.

And the following weekend the Hawke's Bay Multisports Club's winter programme kicks off with the first Friendly Dental VLK (very low key) Duathlon series.

An excellent introduction to triathlon, there are three events on offer. I will be doing the longest - 4.5km run, 22km cycle, 4.5km run.

Last year I competed in two of these events.

On one occasion I even came third in my age-group.

It was so cold and windy, nobody else turned up! All right, I self-deprecate a tad too much, but its fair to say the cream of the club were the race marshals that day.

It's a great workout - in rugby lingo, an opportunity "to leave some blood on the track".

This kind of racing, I am starting to believe, is invaluable to Ironman training (I must get a coach so I know it's invaluable!). It's where you can "smash" yourself, find your speed endurance limit.

In training it is all too easy to cruise along, but to improve, get faster, one has to challenge one's body. Show it what you want from it.

During last year's events I got passed by every Tom, Dick and Marion on the bike leg.

My Avanti Triplo, several inches too small for me, was as fast as the once-great Stirling Mortlock looked in scoring a try against the Crusaders on the weekend.

So this year, atop the Giant, I expect better performance - and will be looking to shave a few minutes off my 2011 best. I will be annoyed if I don't.

We are fortunate to have events like this in the Bay. Hope to see you next Sunday.

In association with Hawke's Bay Today.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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