- by Kate Avery
Each race starts with a sign up and this one for me was even more exciting than normal as it was a new challenge! I have been creeping up my race distances and 50km both excited and scared me at the same time. On top of that, New Zealand has always been somewhere I have wanted to travel, so I figured what better way to see it than to race 50km in the lush forests around Rotorua. I was lucky enough to land five days before the event which meant I could check out a few sections of the course – this only lead to the excitement of the race.
I had a few targets leading to the race. The first was to nail nutrition – I believe this is a key to running well in the longer races. The second target was to finish in the top three. This would allow me to qualify for a race called OCC, the UTMB World Series Final in Chamonix, France. In order to be able to achieve the second target, I knew I would have to achieve the first. My fuelling strategy was to take on between 80-90g of carbohydrate per hour. The GU summit tea energy drink enabled me to get a bulk of these via drinking (59g /serve) and the rest I made up with gels. On top of that, it also had the benefit of a little caffeine, electrolytes and amino acids – all additions that enabled me to finish the race the way I had planned! I especially appreciate the subtle taste of the summit tea, particularly when having to mix it with sweet gels and chews!
By having my fuelling strategy locked in I was able to pace the race in a way that allowed me to relax and stay comfortable. The pace early on was relatively quick which I think suited my shorter distance experiences. The early climb saw a couple of the leading ladies move ahead of me but I really tried to stick to my own strategy and stay within a zone that I felt comfortable with. As the race went on I took confidence in the fact that I was moving at a good pace, was in a good position in the field and had been keeping on top of my pre-race fuelling and hydration strategy. I wasn’t able to catch the early leaders but I am over the moon with a podium finish! My mind, body and particularly stomach had all functioned well that day!
Everyone knows the fuelling doesn’t end with the finish line though! After a little sit down to rest the legs it was straight in to a GU protein recovery drink to start the process of repairing damaged muscles and getting some energy back in to the cells!
Thanks to the GU NZ team for their help!