Grant Harding Ironman life #5

By GRANT HARDING - IRONMAN LIFE


World full of charming women

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.  @GrantHarding4

Women - where would you be without them?

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First cab off the rank this week was Janet on a 28km cycle ride. Moaning about her seat. Moaning about no aerobars. Struggling into the head wind. So she says, 'you go ahead'. And I say, 'when I come back towards you, turn around and come with me'. Did she listen? No.

So when we got home I got a bollocking for not waiting. "That was a fun social ride. It's not like I was that far behind you." It was like a little dog attacking me. Charming! (Although it has to be said she has a pulled calf muscle, and there's nothing like an injury to make a fitness fanatic grumpy.)

No such dramas on the bike ride either side of that, or the two runs - when I went by myself!

Then it was Ashley's turn. For the first time ever my 17-year-old was cycling in bike shoes. It's a weird experience for anybody.

She was slow down hill, slow through traffic and then when we stopped for a pep talk in Prebensen Drive ... she fell off. Forgot that both feet were clicked into the pedals. A bit of skin was missing but she was fine about it.

Once we got on the pathways and down Church Rd she was away, and positively ecstatic when riding up Taradale Hill was ruled out by roadworks. Back along Church Rd with the wind at our backs she was drafting at 32km/h so I took her up Poraiti Hill - and the girl killed it.

It was only a 21km ride at a pace equivalent to a four hour 90km Ironmaori half-ironman cycle, but the potential is there.

A few hours later it was me taking the pain at the hands of Mary Robinson of Muscle Mechanix - hands which would be the envy of the meanest dominatrix.

"Is that pressure all right?"

"Fa-a-a-a-ine."

Then it was on to the first event of the Inov-8 Hawke's Bay Trail Run Series yesterday, where I was nursing a brain injury collected at the Canon Media Awards in Auckland on Friday night (and the early hours of Saturday morning). Don't ask.

Upon arrival in Matangi Rd for the Stephen Hill (Napier) Terrific Tui, I stripped down to my running gear and went to collect my timing device. The Peak Timing caravan was face on to a bitingly cold wind, and of course, I made the mistake of mentioning it. "Oh harden up," was the call from my 2010 Ironman mentor Jeanette Cooper. Then I made my second mistake: "I seem to be hearing that a lot lately," I said. She snorted, "Is that telling you something?" Kapow. Biff. Whack. Charming!

The 21km race was already under way, when we took off on our 14km circuit in beautiful conditions at 10am, with the 7km to follow 30 minutes later. Matangi Rd is down on the Tukituki River, so imagine looking up from there to Te Mata Peak. That's where we went - not to the carpark, but just a few more painful metres to the Trig station. It was a tough climb and I admit, I fast-walked some of it.

Then it was back down the Goat Track which was tough in a different way. Going downhill has its challenges for an over-50 body not used to steep trail running of this kind.

It's a truism that not knowing where you're going also adds an additional stress to an already stressful sporting pursuit. But you pay your money, you turn up and you may as well enjoy it. And I sincerely did, coming in 23rd out of 53 men and women, and 12th (out of 33) in the over-40 age-group. Running around with a large group of other weirdos certainly beats running around by yourself on a Sunday morning.

Hopefully from now on brain injuries won't feature in my training. And certainly the next week will be a clean living one as I build up to the Friendly Dental VLK duathlon.

Training will however be secondary to the needs of my three daughters this week, with their mother in Australia, but I'll get enough done. It's time to start swimming again, it's time to write a co-ordinated programme, it's time to set goals.

Ironman New Zealand 2013 entries close today at 5pm, but on September 1 there will be a limited number of entries in a second release comprising entries returned from Ironman's official partners and from entries released by sponsors.

In association with Hawke's Bay Today

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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