Grant Harding Ironman Life #6


Punishing workout in duathlon

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.

The wind had got up during the race briefing so everyone knew what was ahead on the two-lap, 22km bike. A solid ride out, a grind home. It was a punishing workout.

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It's been a tough old week with much pain and many distractions - a list of things guaranteed to make you feel old.

(1) Trail running up and down Te Mata Peak. I was stiff and sore for days after the recent Inov-8 Hawke's Bay Trail Run Series opener, and by Friday was so desperate that I had to drag myself off to First Chiropractic in Napier to let Paul put me back together. Which he did expertly.

(2) Getting caught on the office sausage roll run to BJs Bakery by the IronMaori whanau - Heather Skipworth, Missy Mackey and Lee Grace. Heather said: "That's not Ironman food is it?" as I re-entered Heretaunga St. As a younger man I would have laughed it off, but the fact I had bought a pie because there were only enough sausage rolls for my five workmates made me feel even worse. Suddenly I felt very fat and old.

(3) Solo parenting three daughters for eight days. One day I came home to a note from my eldest daughter which said: "Feed animals, light fire, cook dinner." In the meantime they were off playing squash. What about my training?

Then on Saturday night as I chilled out watching an excellent Hurricanes performance the twins dived from a standing position on one couch arm, the full length of the couch I was sitting on, to land on a mattress. The aim of the game was to stay above my eyeline and not interrupt my viewing. They succeeded. That made me feel very tired.

(4) The younger athletes in the first race of the Friendly Dental VLK Duathlon Series yesterday, and some of the older ones. In windy conditions there were some top performances, including by some athletes heading to the world triathlon championships in October (report in Hawke's Bay Today later this week).

The combination of work, family and body soreness had meant a light workload over the week, but I was enthusiastic about yesterday's event for which there were more than 100 participants for the three distances.

Duathlon is a ridiculous combination of run, bike, and then another run. It's tough.

I went out hard on the first 4.5km run and as I entered transition that damned pie regurgitated. Or I should say, Heather let everyone know about it. "Good to see you're running those pies off."

The wind had got up during the race briefing so everyone knew what was ahead on the two-lap, 22km bike. A solid ride out, a grind home. It was a punishing workout.

Not wanting a repeat of last year's finish in the corresponding event, when I threw up into a bush at the finish line, I settled on a steady cadence for the second 4.5km run and was pleasantly surprised how quickly it went by.

In the Vet 2 (old fellas) division I finished fifth out of 15 competitors (sixth out of 21 men/women), and 24th out of 45 overall.

But there were more important gains from a race like this.

Few of the competitors would have pushed themselves this hard had they trained by themselves yesterday, and I definitely wouldn't have.

There were also two transitions to practise - my second, a dismount from the bike at the wrong entrance, wasting time.

While I was a touch disappointed with my time of one hour 30 minutes and 39 seconds, it was an indication of my current fitness and ability to handle the conditions.

Most pleasing was the attitude I took into the event. It wasn't a chore to turn up. With 40 weeks of training ahead I'm feeling keen.

For others it was an opportunity to have a go in the friendly Hawke's Bay Multisports Club environment, as they work towards their "big" personal goal.

If you're thinking about next month's event, do it!

I don't expect the aches and pains of last week, and with a week of night shift ahead and normality returning re domestic arrangements it should be a top training week.

As usual, that will be up to my organisation, my attitude and a couple of high-flying children's 10th birthday celebrations.

twitter: @GrantHarding4

In association with Hawke's Bay Today

- Hawkes Bay Today

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