Grant Harding Ironman Life #23


Hawke's Bay Today deputy editor Grant Harding, who will be participating 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.

It's time to join Grey Power and forget Ironman.

That thought first occurred to me on Hardinge Rd, at about the 15km mark in the Napier Pak'n Save Half Marathon yesterday. At the time I was being passed by a grandmother. Admittedly a bit of a fox ... a silver fox. Her friends just happened to be right there cheering her wildly on. Don't you hate that!

A "too quick for me" comment to them as I ran by had them laughing out loud. Oh yes, the running comedian.

Grey Power returned to my thought processes at about 18km when Methuselah passed me. If that guy wasn't 969 years old, then Lance Armstrong has never taken a performance enhancing drug in his life. That old fellow made me look like I'd drunk a Methuselah (definition: a wine bottle holding the equivalent of eight normal bottles) the night before.

You get the picture. It wasn't my day. From 1km onwards I was strangely leg weary.

I battled to halfway in a respectable 50 minutes 20 seconds, and was still on target for a personal best at 17km. But that wasn't enough for my brain to convince my body it could do it. Before Methuselah got to me, I'd walked through two drink stations. The final 4km were the equivalent of pushing the car to the petrol station.

As I slumped in a chair in the Napier Boys' High School grounds, I searched for answers as to why, on a basically flat run mostly on the seafront walkways, I could not match the time achieved at the recent Hatuma Half-Marathon in Waipukurau on a more challenging course.

After a few minutes' introspection, the reasons, the negatives faded away. I had been thinking in the days leading up to the event about this coming week and how it was nearing time to crack the whip. I still wanted Ironman. Methuselah be damned, I'm not ready to join Grey Power yet. It was time for a sausage (with onions) and a large flat white.

Other than a steeling of resolve, there was one other positive - my time of 1:52:38, at least beat the best walker (NZ 50km Road Walk champion, Graeme Jones). Just!

In all seriousness though, the event was superb.

The race pack was the most generous I have seen in recent times, packed with all sorts of goodies.

A total of 699 competitors taking part across three distances - half-marathon, 10km and 5km - either walking or running, would have felt safe throughout their experience in almost ideal conditions.

The course was well-manned, there were water stations when you needed them, the prizegiving didn't go on forever, and the results were posted before the crowd dispersed.

Across the age-groups there were any number of quality performances (results and picture spread in Tuesday's HB Today).

So well done, to all concerned.

For the record, I finished 85th out of nearly 190 starters. Methuselah? I'm pretty sure he got third in the over-60s. Not bad for 969.

In association with Hawke's Bay Today

Twitter: @GrantHarding4

Grant Harding's training diary next week will include the past week.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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